The moonlight cast long shadows across the small bedroom where two figures lay sleeping. The woman tossed and cried in her sleep, reliving a familiar nightmare. As always, she woke from the dream, but found no relief or comfort in consciousness. Her reality was the source of her tormented slumber.
Her slippered feet shuffled softly into the kitchen so as not to wake her spouse. She poured herself a glass of milk and then sat at the table, bowing her head in anguished prayer. Would she ever feel freedom from her guilt? Would she ever feel peace again? She doubted it.
She felt her husband’s presence in the room before she saw him. He kissed the top of her head and then sat down beside her. Reaching across the table for her hand, he looked lovingly at his wife.
“Couldn’t sleep?” He asked tenderly, tentatively.
They sat silently for a moment. There was no awkwardness in the quiet, no need for conversation.
Finally she spoke. “I’m going to visit her tomorrow.”
He winced at her words but said nothing. There was a fine line between being supportive and encouraging what he feared was unhealthy. “When will you go?”
“I thought I could drive up after work tomorrow. I’ll spend the night in a hotel and be back by Saturday afternoon.”
“Do you want me to go with you?” He already knew the answer, but felt he had to offer.
She shook her head. “I want to do this alone.”
As he escorted his wife back to bed, he prayed that she would find restful sleep, that she would forgive herself.
The next day as she started the two hour drive, she released the floodgates of memories allowing herself to reflect on her friendship with Lisa. She smiled and laughed out loud as she remembered the mischief the two had gotten into in junior high. As teenagers, they were closer than sisters and had no secrets. Even when they went their separate ways after graduation, they’d stayed close. No matter how much time or distance passed between them, when they talked, it was like they were back in grade school.
It was dusk as she arrived in the small town where she’d been raised. She knew exactly where to go. She parked her car and as she walked the short distance, she thought about their last visit a month ago.
Lisa had been driving through town, and so they’d met for coffee. They’d hugged warmly, then sat down for an hour of conversation.
“What’s going on in your world?” Lisa had asked.
She’d felt that familiar stirring in her soul, prompting her to finally tell the truth, but once again she’d ignored it. “Oh, nothing too exciting.” She’d tell her later.
They continued on, laughing at past escapades and sharing about their current situations. Lisa talked about her latest boyfriend. She shared about her job and redecorating her house. She never got to what really needed to be said.
Now as she walked up the gravel path, she berated herself for delaying something so important. Why did she pass up so many opportunities?
As she approached, she stood quietly for a moment, then poured out her heart. “I’ve come to apologize,” she began. “I’ve been keeping a secret from you for years. While I was in college I became a Christian. That’s right, I found Jesus. Can you believe it? Me! Everything changed after that.” She paused, wishing Lisa would say something, anything. “I knew I should tell you. More than anything I wanted us share this, too. But the next time we got together and you asked, ‘What’s new?’ I hesitated and didn’t speak up. After college graduation we lived in different towns and didn’t see each other much. I was afraid the religion would come between us, so I remained silent. I always thought I’d get another chance.”
By now tears were rolling down her cheeks, and her words were barely more than a whisper. “I’m so sorry. I miss you so much.” She walked over to the gravestone, kneeled down on the grass and stroked the cold marble. “I know I failed you, but I promise I’ll do better. I won’t ignore the next opportunity I have to tell others about Jesus.”
She stood up, brushed the grass from her pants and headed back to her car. She had some friends to visit before she returned home. After all, she’d made a promise.
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