Word Count approximately: 714
She was fourteen years old when she decided she wanted to die. She walked home from school that day feeling the sad empty feeling pressing in on her. How long had this feeling been present? Forever, it felt like forever. She walked slowly, head down, eyes focused on the ground, her legs plodding forward like a mummy in a trance.
It was a dull Minnesota day in February. The snow was no longer fresh and sparkling but drab and dirty, yellowish grey dismal colors tinged the surface of crusty banks melting and pooling into wet dirty rivers onto the street.
She could still hear the taunts and jeers of classmates ridiculing her as she walked to classes. The called her LES for Lesbian. She was not a lesbian, but the rumor had been spread and people she had thought were friends joined in on the fun of taunting and laughing at her; how easy it was to coalesce with the crowd.
Her thoughts continued to circulate in this dismal pattern. By the time she reached home, she was exhausted by the enormity of her burden. She grimaced as she walked up the steps, not really wanting to be caught up in the hustle and bustle of home life at the moment. She was surprised to find the house quiet and suddenly remembered that her parents were gone at an appointment and her younger brother and sister were with them.
She found herself moving up the stairs to the second floor. She wasn’t sure why but she suddenly felt relieved and realized that her burden had grown lighter. She searched in the medicine cabinet for the aspirin. Surely several of these…..the phone rang then, breaking her thoughts.
She picked up the phone. “Hello” she muttered.
“Mary, its Terry. Just calling to see if you had the notes for class.”
“Oh yeah, sure,” she muttered again. Um….got to go,” she mumbled hanging up the phone.
She looked back at the aspirin, and suddenly felt the need to pray. She got down on her hands and knees and before she knew what she was doing she began to cry, huge gulping sobs racking her body as she lay on the floor praying to God, begging him to show himself to her, prove his existence.
She only knew God to be angry and judgmental, not loving and kind. She screamed at him then. Venting her rage, letting him know how alone she was and without hope. She yelled and screamed and finally, exhausted, she wept silently until she could no longer weep. Her eyes aching, her head throbbing, she lay silently on the floor. She began to grow sleepy when suddenly she felt a presence. Startled, she jumped to her feet.
She ran from room to room searching but there was no one there. As she ran, she felt a warm glow, a feeling of peace settle in around the pit of her stomach when suddenly the doorbell rang.
Surprised she went to the door to see her once in awhile friend, Terry standing outside the door. Remembering that she had called earlier, she figured she needed to see her notes for class. She opened the door and Terry rushed in, gasping for breath.
“When I heard you on the phone, I thought it was too late! I mean, you looked so sad at school something told me to check on you and then you sounded so weird, I rushed over as fast as I could, only I couldn’t get out the door right away because I was watching my little sister and….”
Mary reached out and hugged her, stopping her chatter.
It turned out, Terry didn’t believe the rumor and her friendship was God’s way of showing her his presence. Although the rumor kept a stronghold for years, the presence of God showed her that she could walk in Jesus footsteps, be his disciple, and learn humility and courage.
Living down a rumor isn’t easy, but when you think about the cross Jesus had to carry, walking with him as a disciple is a privilege. Often times our strength comes to us by crying out to God, grabbing on and taking hold of God’s hand and not letting go.