This post is going to be a little different. Recently I joined a creative community called Resonate: Plus. It's a group of Christian creatives from all over the world, with all different forms of creativity encouraging each other and talking about a specific topic related to creativity as believers. This month the topic is perseverance, and we are doing a fun group project! Anyone who wanted to participate, sent in a haiku on the topic, then we each picked one the spoke to us, and did something within our creative outlet that goes with that haiku. Some people are writing songs, or doing hand lettering, or painting. I decided to do a short story. What it ended up being, was an extra or deleted scene from my current novel, Worthy of Redemption. It stands alone, but uses characters and themes from that story. It was challenging to write, but a lot of fun! I'll put the original haiku first, and then the story. I hope you enjoy it!
But I keep moving onwards
his hand holding mine
Courtney took a deep breath as she walked to the visitation room of the halfway house that had become her residence for the last two months. Maybe today they would show. She walked into the large room and scanned it briefly. No sign of anyone she knew. She saw her roommate Karen with her parents and three-year-old daughter and gave a wave, trying to be happy for her. As she looked around, she noticed that most of the women in the facility were there, utilizing the one time during the week when they can spend time with their family members. Some of them would even leave to get lunch, shop, or just enjoy the one time they were allowed to be someplace other than the house or work. She sighed, her family had made it very clear when she was arrested for driving under the influence, resulting in the death of Victoria, one of her best friends, and an intoxication manslaughter charge, that they were done with her. The death of the head cheerleader on graduation night had rocked the entire small community of White Lake, Texas and her family’s reputation had taken quite the hit. Her father paid for her to have a good lawyer who managed to get her a decent plea bargain, but she had not seen her parents or her brother since her sentencing over two years ago. Looking around at the happy faces was beginning to make her depressed. Maybe she should just go back to her room and read or something.
“Courtney!” She suddenly heard a familiar voice shout from across the room.
She gave a small smile as she walked over to the smiling woman. “Lori! What are you doing here?”
“I hadn’t seen you since we helped you move in and I thought maybe you could use an escape? I thought maybe we could go get pedicures?”
Courtney’s smile deepened. “That would be wonderful. Let me go grab my purse and change while you get me checked out." The house had a policy that an approved guest must check out a resident and take responsibility for making sure they followed the house rules of no drugs or alcohol, and then returned promptly.
“Sounds great, I’ll meet you up front.”
“So how’s the transition going?” Lori asked her as their feet sat soaking in the warm water.
“It’s going okay.”
Lori gave her a look. “Courtney, it’s me. You don’t have to put on a brave face, or tell me it’s fine if it isn’t. So how is it going really?”
Courtney gave a small smile. It was amazing how well Lori had gotten to know her in the last two years. When she had sent a letter to Victoria’s boyfriend, apologizing for everything that had happened, she never would have guessed his mother would have decided to show up at the prison. But that’s exactly what Lori did. Since then, they had formed a bond that Courtney had never experienced with even her own mother. “Honestly? One minute, I feel great. I’m accomplishing my goals, I’m realizing my triggers, and I feel ready to take on the real world after my time here is over. The next minute, I’m terrified. Sure, prison was awful but at least I was safe. I didn’t have the temptations of wanting to go out and party and drink; I’m scared I’ll fall right back into that lifestyle that took the life of my friend and changed mine forever.”
“The fact that you recognize those fears and desires is a huge step. Keep praying that you’ll resist temptation; you don’t have to do this alone.” Lori said, pointing to the color she wanted on her toes.
“I know. One thing I have now, that I didn’t have in high school, is my relationship with God. I didn’t have a reason to be a better person, I didn’t have anyone holding me accountable, or encouraging me to do better. Now, I still can’t believe sometimes that he’s forgiven me for everything I’ve ever done, even getting in that car after drinking and killing one of my best friends. Because of that, I don’t want to fall back into that life. I want to live the way he wants me to. But it’s still hard. It’s like I’m stumbling, faltering. But I keep moving onwards, his hand holding mine.”
“Exactly. The most important thing to remember is that Jesus is with you every step of the way. And remember, while his hand is holding yours; mine is holding your other one. I’m with you through it all. If you’re feeling a great temptation, or extremely guilty about what happened, or just need to talk, I’m just a phone call away. Day or night. I mean that.”
Unable to give her a hug, Courtney reached over and squeezed Lori’s arm. She was glad that while she was persevering through this journey, she was not alone. Not only had God shown himself to her, he also placed Lori in her life to help her through her darkest time. The next few months may be scary, and full of pain, but with his hand holding hers, and the knowledge that Lori’s would be too, she would make it through.
Christ-Follower. Writer. Caffeine-addict.