Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: rain (10/17/05)
TITLE: Of Storms and Tears
By Craig Frizzell
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Nineteen months earlier
A flash of lightning lit up the night sky. The crack of thunder that followed brought Holly into the kitchen in search of Lisa. The four-year-old looked to her mother to calm her fears.
“I’m scared, Momma.”
“Get back in the bed. There’s nothing to be scared of.”
“Momma, what are you doing?” Holly asked as she stared at the packages of batteries, red pills, and cans of lighter fluid on the table.
Lisa’s patience, thin even on her good days, snapped.
“I said get out of here! Go on, now, before I whip your behind!”
Holly stood there for a moment, as if debating whether there was more to fear from her mother or the storm. Then she decided to take her chances with the storm, and ran for the relative safety of her room as rain began to pound the roof with a deafening roar.
Lisa tried to bring her rage under control. She needed a hit. When was the last time? It couldn’t have been more than a few hours. She couldn’t remember. That’s why she took the meth, so she wouldn’t have to remember. She would take just a little from the stash she kept back every time she cooked up a batch. She started toward the basement.
The pounding on the door was lost in the noise of the storm, and in the drug haze that clouded Lisa’s mind. She finally became aware of someone shouting.
“Police! Open up!”
The significance of this was lost on Lisa, and she opened the door to see what all the fuss was about.
Three officers rushed into the room, their guns drawn. “Get down on the floor. Now!”
Lisa was pushed to the floor, her face pressed into the dirty carpet.
“Lisa Winters, you are under arrest for the manufacture and sale of methamphetamine . . .”
The rest was a blur. The rain blowing in through the open door mixed with her tears as they stained the carpet. None of it mattered, because Lisa understood something with a clarity that she hadn’t experienced in months. She saw Holly standing in the hallway, terror and confusion in her eyes as she watched her mother lying on the floor in handcuffs. Lisa understood in that moment that she might never see her daughter again.
“Oh, God, what have I done?”
Lisa saw the stares as she entered the courtroom. She had been here, before the same judge and prosecutor, nineteen months earlier. She had looked much different, then.
Now, as more heads turned her way, Lisa held her head a little higher as she approached the judge.
“Well, Ms. Winters. I can see there have been some changes in your life – on the outside, at least. But what about the inside? How can I be sure you will be an asset to society, and not the drain that you once were?”
“Sir, I’d like to tell you about my time at the Covenant Mission.”
So the judge and the others in the courtroom were the first to hear Lisa’s testimony, the story of her recovery and redemption. God had led her to a place where she was loved and accepted as she was. The people at the Mission had taught her how to live again, and how to love. They provided a place where she could learn about God, and where she eventually accepted Christ as her savior.
Lisa stepped out of the courthouse and into the sunlight. She shielded her eyes and gazed at the scene before her, as if seeing it all for the first time. She thanked God for this new beginning. Thanks to the Mission, she had a job. As part of her hearing, the judge had approved supervised visits with her daughter. She was getting her life back.
And then, without warning, rain began to fall. Lisa looked up into the cloudless sky, and the rain ran down her face, mixing with her tears. She smiled, because she knew that these raindrops were the tears of angels weeping with her for joy.
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