The jet black sky glittered with diamonds. Veronica leaned out over the deck railing, taking it all in. The last few weeks had been a blur. Since joining the crew of the Fantasy, she hadn’t had a moment to herself. Now she finally had a night off. Grateful for the quiet, she sank back into one of the deck chairs, the ocean air dancing in her hair.
Her quiet was soon interrupted. “Hey girlfriend, you doing alright up here?”
Veronica turned to see her roommate Latisha slide into the deck chair next to her.
“I’m fine,” Veronica mumbled, her gaze returning to the sky. “Aren’t you supposed to be at work?”
“Nah, my shift just ended. What are you thinking about?”
“Honestly? About how I just ran away from my life and ended up here. I think I may actually have found a place where no one can find me.”
“That may be true for the people in your life, but there’s no running away from God.”
Veronica sighed. “Oh, Latisha, I don’t think God’s paying any attention to where I am. He’s got far better things to do.”
Latisha gave her a meaningful look. “That baby you lost. How much did you love him?”
Tears filled Veronica’s eyes. “More than I ever thought possible.”
“Even though all he did was cry and keep you up all night? Even though your man left you because of him?”
“Of course! He was my son! I would have done anything for him.” Veronica turned away, wiping her eyes with her sleeve. “You wouldn’t understand.”
“No? I’ve got two babies of my own, you know.”
Veronica turned in surprise. “You do? Why didn’t you ever tell me?”
Latisha chuckled. “You never asked! In case you hadn’t noticed, we spend most of our time talking about you.”
Veronica reddened. “I’m sorry, I…”
Latisha laughed and held up a hand. “No worries, girlfriend. Besides, my babies are in their twenties now. They’re out on their own. That’s why I thought it would be fun to do this cruise ship gig.” She reached over and patted Veronica’s hand. “My point is, child, that just like you would do anything for your little Thomas, God would do anything for you.”
Veronica fiddled with the drawstrings on her jacket. “I’m not so sure about that. I’ve done some stuff He wouldn’t be too happy about.”
“That doesn’t mean He stops loving you. None of us deserves His love. He gives it anyway. Come over here.” She led Veronica back over to the deck railing. “Can you see where the ocean ends?”
Veronica stared out at the black expanse. Gazing out to where the sea met the sky, she shook her head. “No.”
“God’s love for you is like that – endless. He loves you like His child because you are. Just like your Thomas didn’t do anything to deserve your love, neither do you have to anything to deserve God’s.” She moved back toward the doors, leaving Veronica with her thoughts. “Just remember, no matter how far you run, He’s always right there with you, waiting for you to come to Him.”
Veronica took in the scene around her. The ocean was as still as a pond, and the jewels of the sky reflected their light on the water below. The only breeze came from the ship gliding through the waters. As the moon rose high in the sky, Latisha’s words echoed in her mind. Did she dare? She hardly remembered how. Still, if what Latisha said was true… A faint glimmer of hope sprang up in her heart, a feeling she thought had died along with Thomas. Struggling with herself, she finally relented. What could it hurt? With every ounce of strength left in her, she reopened her heart, the place she thought had been closed up forever, and whispered the words “Dear Jesus…”
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