Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: ZEST (10/01/15)
TITLE: A Gift of Hope
By Lynn Smith
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Rolling over on her single bed, she glanced at the window. The sun was shining brightly through the crack in the curtain, another warm day. She should be at work this morning but had called in sick for the second time this week.
Her cell phone burped, the familiar sound signalling a text from her friend Jess. Grabbing it off the night table, she flipped open the case to see what she had to say. “What's up?”
She tossed the phone behind her on the bed. Couldn't she be left alone for just one day? She closed her eyes, then heard the bedroom door open and close. It was like her blood had turned to ice. Although she was nineteen, he could inject her with fear as if she was seven years old again.
“Lillian?” Her father walked over to the dresser, picked up her clock, then clicked the alarm button back and forth. “Did you set this?”
Holding her breath, she remained still, pretending to sleep.
“Yes, Dad,” she croaked impatiently.
With his arms crossed over his chest, he glared down at her. “Aren't you supposed to be at the restaurant?”
The only thing she could do was nod her head. She had tossed and turned all night worrying about her life. How was she going to manage to work, plus go to college in a couple of weeks? After explaining to her parents how overwhelming it all was, instead of sympathizing, they just belittled her. She had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder a year earlier, and although medication helped, it made her feel as if she was in a perpetual fog.
Lillian heard a faint knock on the front door.
“Who could that be at this time in the morning?” Her father grumbled as he strode across the room.
Lillian closed her eyes once again, relieved that she was finally alone. She felt like she had just run a ten-mile marathon.
Within minutes, Jess entered her room like a whirlwind and jumped on the bed. “Whatcha doin'?”
Lillian sat up as tears started to pour from her eyes. “What are you doing here?”
Wrapping her arm around her shoulder, Jess gave her a knowing look. “When you didn't respond to my text, I knew something was up.”
“I feel like everything is piling up on me, Jess. Life is getting to be too much”
Jess pointed to a picture on the wall, an image of Jesus calling Peter out of a boat. Her mother had given it to her for her fifteenth birthday, shortly after her illness started taking over her life. “Look, Jesus is calling you, too.”
“You don't understand,” she yelled.
Pushing up her sleeve, Jess revealed scars that ran up and down her arm. “Yes, I do.”
Lillian couldn't believe what she saw. Jess, a cutter? But she always looked happy. She felt bad for yelling and told her so.
“This happened a couple of years ago but I never told anyone,” she looked down, then took a deep breath. “I was ashamed. I tried to kill myself twice, but Jesus pulled me out of that boat and set me on a path where I was excited about living again. He can do the same for you.”
“I don't know,” Lillian shook her head.
Jess reached out her hand, “Come, let's go for a walk.”
“I can't.” There was no strength left in her. Jesus, please help me to be able to enjoy life again, she prayed.
She was shocked when Jess put an arm around her waist and lifted her off the bed. “Just around the block and we'll come back.”
Lillian nodded. She looked at the image of Jesus and a verse came to her mind. 'Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.' Her heart began to pound. She could do this—one day at a time.
*Psalm 30:5b (KJV) 'Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.'
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