Christian Short Stories

Kelly writes:  "I am project manager for a construction firm that uses writing as a ministry.  I spent over 10 years in a jail ministry and have led apologetics classes for unchurched parents.  I have three girls 1 to 10 years old and have been married for 16 years.  The message that I wish to get through is that we are to turn from sin and come just as we are.  That God is near us and we are only facing the wrong direction in our sin."

The Visit
By Kelly Rutland

The baby blue 83’ Caprice half slid into the driveway nearly clipping the trash can as it rest on top of the icy slush. The radio playing only out of the passenger door had Anne Murray singing:

“Nobody robbed a liquor store on the lower part of town. Nobody OD'ed, nobody burned a single buildin' down
Nobody fired a shot in anger, nobody had to die in vain
We sure could use a little good news today”.

Murray’s soothing voice made it hard to turn the key off. But alas, it had to be done. 

Just as she had suspected, the white two-story queen-anne style house was decked out for Christmas complete with a nativity scene in the yard that had once belonged to her mother.  After a deep sigh and a glance at two old school pictures of her niece and nephew she kept taped to the dash of the old Caprice, she hesitantly grabbed the latch to open the door.  The chrome handle was hot from the heater vent being directed at it the last two hours.  It made her realize she was sweating. 

How long had it been?  Four, no five years she guessed. Her nephew Tanner had just started school the last time she had seen her sister.  That was her best recollection anyway, so Millie was maybe a 2nd grader now.  “Dinah, you must be the world’s worst aunt.” She muttered.  “And sister.”  “God.”  She opened the door and the cold slapped her face, but it was soothed by the peaceful silence that can only be ushered in by a cleansing ivory snowfall.  “The larger the flakes the better the scrubbing power” she thought.  She believed she heard each individual flake touch down on her windshield like little fallen angels.  Snows like that produce still moments in the soul that whisper “its okay” and demand a deep breath exhaled as a frosty offering to the clouds. The stillness is grand and the mind appreciates just being, not going or coming or planning or scheming.  Just being and just being quiet. Dinah really missed the quiet soft things in life. Flannel sheets, grandma’s quilts…  But, the sound of a passing car with tires smashing the dirty slush behind her on the street snapped her back to the worries of her life.

Dinah struggled to make her way along the slippery driveway to the side door by the garage.  The feel of cold moisture on her sock from a weak spot in the sole of her boot aggravated her. She wondered if Annie had already spied her walking up.  If so, was her sister weighing her options: open the door or pretend to hide?  Each trepid step brought with it a new thought: “Could she even recognize me anyway?”  and, “I wish I had some lipstick.” And, “another new car under her perfectly organized garage” and, “why are we so different?” and, “Mom and dad would have been so proud” and finally- “here goes nothing”.  She stepped up and tapped on the door.

Surely, Anne was already dressed up ready to go to some luncheon though it was only 8am.  “I know Princess Anne must be feeding the hungry and sheltering the homeless or something”, she pictured her sister in the perfect tweed jacket and skirt.  Pink no less.  “Baking cookies from scratch I bet and individually wrapping them for the Church …what is taking so long Sis, its freezing out here.” She grew aggravated from the cold and the thoughts - KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK!

Finally, the door gently opened.  Dinah wasn’t prepared to see her sister in a robe and no make-up. Did she wake her up?  Still, she had the same beaming smile she recognized from when they were little after some discovery had been made which they thought was a major find.  Anne could have just as easily been named Grace and not a soul would have been disappointed.

“Dinah!  Dinah!  Come in girl!  Look at you!  Where have you been?  Praise God! Give me a hug! (big hug) Get in here!”. “Give me your coat.”, then another bigger hug that seemed it was going to squeeze the air out of Dinah’s lungs just the way Mom would have done it.

Seeing Annie’s eyes begin to well up, “Don’t cry Annie, you are going to make me ball!”  It was too late as both women had to dab at their eyes.  “Where are the kids?”

“It’s a school day Dinah.  They won’t be home until about three thirty or so.”  Dinah felt relieved and a bit foolish, but she had never had kids. She never dealt with things like school times, box lunches and birthday parties so they were foreign to her.  On the other hand, Annie wouldn’t know where to score any “speed”, but it sure looked like she could use some right now. 

“You got any coffee Anns?  I got chilled on the stoop. What took you so long? I almost thought you weren’t home.”  Annie was the name the family called her sister, Annette was what was on her birth certificate but Anns was what popped into Dinah’s brain when she thought about “big sister”.  All at once a flood of Christmas memories of them sitting around a gaudy tree in their pajamas looking for boxes labeled “big sister” or “little sister” flowed through her mind.  Those times seem but a prick of light down a long dark tunnel now.  The years had dimmed so much of her memory of the best times of her life.  Little flashes of such were a treat.

“Heavy cream and two sugars Di ?”.  Is that still how you take it?  Annie had already moved to the counter. “Sit down at the table.  We have a lot of catching up to do.  You don’t know what it means to me for you to be here - get comfortable.  Are you hungry?”, Annie was energized into big sister mode, all systems go, thrilled, best she had felt in a long time.

“Yes Anns.  I still like it pa-paw style.”  She loved being able to say something so personal like that and it mean something to someone without explanation.  “How is Mike doing?  I guess he still has his firm?”  She didn’t really care about Mike that much.  “What grade are the kids in now?”

“Mike will die at his desk, buried in one of those law books, and people won’t even notice for two days.  So yes he is still there.  Tanner is in 5th grade now by the grace of God.  That boy has your study habits I am afraid, but just like you he is smart as a whip, and Millie is doing fabulous in 7th.  She is going to do a solo in a program this month for Christmas.  I tell her she got that voice from her aunt Dinah.  She looks like you and Tanner acts like you.  He has your sense of humor.  I see you in them and I see mom and dad of course.”

Annie brought coffee and store bought cookies to the table.  “No way! Store bought cookies?  That’s got to be some type of sin to Annette,” Di mused to herself.  “Surely Annie must have not been able to afford time away from crafts or scrap booking in order to justify store bought cookies!  Wow, I guess one of the stars fell off of Wonder Woman’s panties” she continued to joke inside herself.

The women chatted like girls and the time passed easily.  Dinah saw softness from Annie and she did not get the usual questions that always came around that could be such a buzz kill.  It had been a long time since a visit went without the feel of the Great White Throne Judgment.  Instead of critique, Annie discussed vacations taken, activities the kids were in, Mike’s accomplishments, what her church was involved in, but not much about herself.  Dinah volunteered the minimum.  Yes, she had a boyfriend.  The same one Annie didn’t much care for, though they had never met.  She had traveled and lived in various cities with Jason.  No, she no longer sang and played, having sold her guitar a few years back.  “Marriage?  Not for me.” She interjected.  Don’t want to, of course.  Still, she made glance at her own barren ring finger.

Two hours in, no cookies left and no inquiries yet about her “using” and relationship reprimands about “living in sin” or “don’t you want children?”  As Annie was reminding her about some long ago adventure they shared in high school, she noticed past the big smile and high cheeks that her sister had gotten older.  That twinkle from her eye that won over everybody she met (especially men) was somehow dimmer.  Her hair so short now, made Dinah want to tell her it looked a little butch, but Anns had just been too sweet to this point to pull the trigger on that.  Still she would keep that bullet chambered.  Anns looked tired and regardless of how different they were, Dinah loved her.  Was the Junior League poisoning her body as well as her mind?  Dinah always suspected so.

“Annie, what about you?” Dinah broke in.  “You have told me everything about everyone, but not about you.  What kind of fundraiser are you heading up?  Aren’t you and Mike renewing your vows or something edifying like that?”  She did not intend for it to sound so mean, but it did, and she caught a glimpse of hurt in Annie’s eyes.  She regretted it.  “I mean what is going on with you, my big sister that I love so much?” 

“Well, I am doing okay.  I don’t do much outside activities anymore really.  I do stuff for the kids, you know, class parties, bake sales and stuff like that.  I am still tending to the flower beds at church and occasionally work in the kitchen at the mission.  Mostly, I have just been a mom and wife.  Mike and I are doing great.  I don’t know what I would do without him.  We have been blessed for sure.  We sometimes wish we would have started having kids sooner.  We didn’t realize what a blessing they would be to our lives.  I do wish you were around them more Di.  I wish they could get to know you, know us, you know?”  Dinah knew Annie really meant that.  She regretted not spending time with her and her kids, but how could she?  She we damaged goods.

“You know I can’t do that, Annie.  Mike wouldn’t stand for it and he would be right.  I wouldn’t respect him if he did.  They don’t need me in their lives.  I would rather you just let them know the best part of me.  I want to them to think of me like that picture you have of me in the hall by the bathroom.  I was happy then, respectable, you know? Clean.”  Unconsciously she ran her tongue across her front teeth that no longer shined like they did when that picture was taken.  She felt ashamed she had let that happen.  “I need to smoke.”  Dinah abruptly stood up and moved to her coat hanging next to the door, and jumbled her hands in the big pockets looking for the lighter and the familiar feel of cellophane.  Finally, she desperately squeezed her hand onto the empty pack.  She is out, “Unfreakin believable.”  She could have sworn she had one left.  “Always when you need it the most!” she thought. 

“Di you don’t have to go outside.  It’s too cold, just smoke in here.”  Annie was concerned for her sister, but really she did not want to miss out on a moment with her. 

Dinah laughed, “Ohhh, no.  Mike will have a fit if he gets even the slightest hint that someone has broached his castle with a smoke. I was worried about dropping an ash off the porch!” 

“Don’t worry about Mike.  Just stay with me and smoke here.” pleaded Annie.

“It’s okay.  I am alright, just a stupid habit.  I don’t need to smoke anyway.  I have been cutting way back.  Really, I …”

“You are wrong, by the way.  They do need you in their life.  You have a lot to offer them.  There is more to you than just mistakes that you have made.  I think the kids would see so much of themselves in you with your wit and talent.  They also can get a better idea of Mom and Dad, you know?  I mean they can only get so much of what Mom and Dad were like from me.  You look so much like Mom and act so much like Dad and I just -  Dinah, I just need you, too.  You know, I miss you.  I want to see your face, but even a phone call would be … you know.  I just don’t understand why you don’t want to be near us, near me.

Dinah had to look away.  She couldn’t stand to see her sister cry, but how could Annette understand what its like to live, to have to live, with such dissatisfaction.  Has she ever wanted to disappear, to not be, to not breathe regret as a way of life?  She has always been so satisfied and grateful for everything… and why wouldn’t she be?  Look how lucky she is in her spotless little world with her spotless things in her spotless house with her spotless brain.  Where is her darkness? What’s in the crevices of her closet that want to crawl out and play?  “Why do you want me here?  We are nothing alike! I smoke, I drink, I curse, and I do drugs. God knows I do drugs, and all your Nancy Reagan friends can’t deal with that!  All I have to do is “JUST SAY NO”, and I won’t, so I must be demon possessed.  Not everyone is happy on this crappy rock we live on like you are, not everyone likes the music being played and your type can’t understand that. I want to pick my own music to dance to.  Most of the people you know would not even sit at the table with me if they were here with us now.  Why would I want to be around that?

“That’s not true.” Annie attempted but Dinah rolled her eyes and neck.  “Well it’s mostly not true.  Look Dinah, you can condemn my friends all you want but c’mon you scare them.  You scare me!  That lifestyle scares me!  Your nefarious drug friends and all that business, I mean you know people who at least know people who would kill somebody for a little cash.  I worry about you all the time. I just wish”-she stopped herself short.

“I scare you, but you want me to be around you and the kids?  Oh okay, I am supposed to come along, but I won’t bring any of my tattooed, pierced, drinking, drugging, devil worshiping friends with me?  Lord forbid I might bring Jason!  I will forget I love him, so you and I can spend some Saturdays when you’re not busy, of course, and we can scrap book!  I mean really Annette, you live up here in your ivory tower with your matching Escalades, Waterford crystal, and custom marble floors” Dinah searched for one more item.  There it is, “… and built in refrigerator and I am trying to figure out how to get an inspection sticker on my car not to mention gas to get back home!  I mean really, you don’t know what its like to do without, not for a long time.  You want me, but in your place, at your time and on your terms.  You don’t want ME you want your version of me!  You’re just like all the other church people!”  Dinah had not intended to bring that tirade.  This was not the plan.  She told herself not to go there, but isn’t this what always happens?  Shoot the lights and curse the dark.  “You just want me to make you feel better about me.”

Annette didn’t put up much of a fight, but she came with what she had, “and you just want money.” 

Dinah took the type of deep breath one takes when confronted by a truth, but not whole truth, “Not just money. I’m just saying-

Annie jumped back in, “Where is your place Di?  What is your address?  Where do I come to?  What number do I call to set something up?  Where do you go? Where do you sleep? Who of your friends do I need to know? Where are you Dinah?  Where do I find you? How do I come to meet your terms?”

Dinah deflected, “It’s always ‘come to church, come to bible study’ or something.  Did you ever think for one moment that maybe I would like to share a beer with my sister?  Would it have hurt you to come to my ground a little? Why does everything with you have to have a sanctimonious bow wrapped around it? 

“Nothing.” Annie bowed her head.

“What’s nothing” asked Dinah confused.

Nothing. It would have hurt nothing for me to have had a beer with you.  I wished I had.  I’m sorry. It never crossed my mind. I wished we would have done many things.  And it’s true, everything I do, everything I see or have, I associate with God.  Or maybe I see it through Christ filtered glasses.  I can’t help that Di.  I don’t want to change that. It’s who I am Dinah, just as much as I am your sister. Just as much as you are who you say you are.”  She wondered if she had really been that preachy all these years.  Really?  Annie charged, “Seriously, when did you ever actually come to bible study, or church or baptism or anything that I have ever asked you to come to?  If you had asked me to have a beer with you with the passion you just showed now, I would like to think I would have said yes.  Ask yourself this. How much more do you think I cared to have you, my sister, see Millie baptized?” 

“Look, I am sorry. I will just go” Dinah approached for a good-bye hug, but really she just wanted to make amends and flee.

“You know Dinah, I don’t remember you asking me to come with you anywhere, or do anything?  I don’t remember all this rejection that I have heaped upon you.  I do remember crying in the bed at night wondering where you were, hoping you would call.  Wishing I could come get you.  How many times have I wanted to pick you up in my arms like my baby sister?  But you didn’t.  You won’t have me near you.  You must hate me, and for what?  Because I have things; you would let good things in my life separate us? I just don’t understand how you have come to hate me.”

Dinah did not know what to say.  She didn’t hate her sister per se.  She just hated.  She just hated everything and nothing at the same time.  Did she love Jason?  Does he love her?  What does love even look like? Does it matter? She didn’t know anymore.  Why the angst?  Tortured she threw out a bomb, “Mom had an abortion, you know.”  She stared ahead at the target awaiting the destruction to amass.

“I’ve known that, Sis.” Annie disarmed Dinah’s revelation.

“Yeah?  I didn’t know you knew.  I thought it was just something between mom and me.”  Dinah felt a twisted sense of betrayal.  “Well, doesn’t it bother you that we are supposed to have a big brother or sister or something?  Don’t you wonder what those dynamics would have been like?  Especially, with an older brother?” 

“I’ve wondered a lot of times.  Would he have been like Dad?”  She traced the rim of her coffee cup with her finger, “Would he have looked after us after, you know, after the accident and been the “man of the house”.  It would have been nice.  An older sister would have been nice, too.  But what does that have to do with you, Dinah?  Blame me if you want, but don’t blame mom-“

“Me too.  I should be a mom, Annie.  I just couldn’t see how…”  Dinah bit her lip.

Annie sat down in the kitchen chair holding her side. She put her head down on the table without saying a word.  Dinah stared at her sister until she realized that Annie was weeping.

“Look, I am just gonna go. Anns, I do love you.  Always have.  Always will.” Dinah regretted everything.  “I shouldn’t have told you.  I shouldn’t have come here.  It doesn’t concern you.”

Annie raised herself up, “Why would you do that?  Why didn’t you come to me?  If you didn’t want the child, I would have gladly raised and loved your baby!”

Dinah said, “It doesn’t involve you Annie!  It was my body, it was inside me, it would have been wrong of me to bring a baby into… it wasn’t a child yet anyway.”  It was my right and I did what was best for everyone.”

Annie shot back, “What right do you have to rob me of my nephew or niece?”  She slammed her hands on the table shaking it and shot up to her feet, “What right did Mom have to rob us of an older brother or sister?  Did she not think that maybe I would have liked to have had someone there for me in my times of trouble? I might need someone that I could look in their face and see the eyes of my father or the smile of my mother.  Someone I could seek out for counsel, someone to pick me up and encourage me and to go to when I am scared!  Dinah, what gives you the right?  It’s not just your body and just your life.  It’s just not.”  She gathered her breath and cut Dinah off, “I want my kids to have cousins, to have someone to get together with at Thanksgiving and Christmas, someone in whom they can see my face when I am gone.  I want them to know you Dinah, they need to know you.  Don’t let your feelings for me keep you from loving my children.  You are all I have for them; all that has some of me anyway.  Don’t take that from them.”

Dinah dropped her coat and raised her eyes upward, “It’s not you, Annie.  It’s me! I am damaged!  No one needs me, especially your children for God’s sake! What really matters anyway?  What is there about this life that really matters?  I understand- you got kids.  Even they will grow up and do their own thing and have their own lives.  What is the point of all this stupid life- all this misery?  Don’t you get sick of having to wake up and do it all over again, this miserable little game?  And what is worse, you don’t get to set the rules and the rules in play are all stacked against you.  I’m not like you, Annie. I question. I RAGE! I just wish you would shake your fist or something, for Christ’s sake.”

Annie reached for strength, dried her eyes and returned volley, “How arrogant, Dinah.  You see me as this little silly ignorant girl that doesn’t know better.  You are so much deeper than your Pollyanna big sister.  You have the world’s angst on your shoulders and what are you to do?  Let me tell you, just because I have faith does not mean I don’t have questions.  I don’t turn a blind eye just because I think God will do right by me.  I know suffering too. Cars and goblets and jewelry aren't my salve for how I hurt.  They would not solve your problems either. I don’t turn toward things.  I turn to Christ and He gives me peace and for that you think I’m stupid.  You turn to pills, but I should respect your existentialist nonsense as brilliance?  Do you remember Ecclesiastes?

“For with much wisdom comes much sorrow;
  the more knowledge, the more grief.”

There is nothing new under the sun Dinah and that includes your self-analysis and social commentary and meaningless view of the world.  You’re right though, life is meaningless the way you live it.  No God- No Meaning- No Purpose- No life.  Am I supposed to applaud you for that?  But never mind with that. I won’t dare bother you with Christ, nor dare judge.  You point your finger everywhere at everyone, but we are silly fools with our silly lives. If that is the case, I guess I am the problem!

Dinah dropped her face, “I said it’s not you, Annie!  It’s me!  I am the one covered in all this …all this filth!  Not you!  No, not you, it’s me!  Repenting is easy when it’s about a white lie or whatever someone like you might feel guilty about.  My issues are just a little deeper than begging off a PTA meeting Sis.  And you want me to just let your Savior wrap his arms around me?!  What kind of God would do that?!  Huh?  I don’t want to be that type of hypocrite.  I am past change. I am who I am.  C’mon Annie, it’s easy for you to believe.  Look at you, look around you. Where has He shown His face to me?  Where is my sign? Huh?  You’ve never done things you’re ashamed of just so you could make some money for you and your knight in shining armor to get by on.  You’ve never had a dark stranger tug at you every minute.  You’ve never supported that habit. You’ve never…” she had to stop short.  She could not go further with her confession or else the pain might be too much.  Still shameful moments flashed through her mind’s eye, frame by dirty frame, reminding her of how she had fallen.  “I hate myself Annie!!!  I wish I never was.  I wish I never was!”  Dinah crumpled to her knees and just sobbed.  Annie knelt beside her little sister, putting her cheek into those curls that had defined Di’s face since she was little. 

“Baby girl, you just need to (she wanted to fix things but then said the only thing she could say) …seek Him.  Remember what we were taught Di, He did not come into the world to condemn, but to save.”  She whispered softly making prayerful pauses as if floating petitions on high.    “Come just as you are and knock on His door.  He loves you, Di, just as you are.  Look back for Him, He is there, always has been.  I promise He is good.” She continued her whisper, her hope.  “That is why it is called the Good News. The Gospel means good news!  Don’t you see Dinah; it is precisely because we are covered by this filth that God came in the flesh.  He wants to save us from sin, to save us from ourselves. Annie continued softly, “Don’t you see?  Dinah He loves you, even now, especially now, He loves you and me– that is the good news.  That is very good news indeed.  He has paid for all of this grime, disease and death and one day soon, there will be none of it”.  Annie’s voice tailed off and they both softly sobbed in each other’s arms on the kitchen floor.

“I miss Him Anns, I really do. I just don’t love Him anymore” she sobbed harder.

She tried to quell her little sister’s sobs like so many times before, but instead of a knee, this was her heart that was skinned, “Shhhhhh… its okay… Di-  He still loves you…  He is faithful...  You will see....  Trust me... Trust Him...  He will never leave you nor forsake you…    In His time Sis, when you turn around you will bump into him...
He will be there… I promise.”

After a very long moment, another knock came to the door and it opened before being answered.  A young woman peeked in, “Annette?”  The lady glanced down as Dinah and Annie stirred back to their feet. “Good Lord, Ms. Annette, are you okay?  Is she fine?  Are you fine?” her face darted back and forth between the sisters seeking an answer.

“I am fine, Claire.  I’m fine.  Just tired.”  Claire helped Annette to her feet. “ I think I will lie down. Dinah make your self at home, please stay for dinner and see the kids when they get off the bus.  I want to talk some more, okay?”  Claire coaxed Annette out of the kitchen and down the hall.

“Who is that?” Dinah asked herself.  “Annie, are you okay?” she half yelled?  “Whew, I am tired too.” she sniffled and glanced at the clock on wall and realized she had to be going.  This visit was not exactly what she was wanting, but she was still glad it happened.  Claire walked back in with a manila envelope. 

“Annette asked me to give you this in case you couldn’t stay.”  She handed it off.  “Are you a friend or family?”

Dinah read the front of the envelope with her name hand written on it, “Annie and I went to school together.” Dinah lied to avoid any probing conversation. “And you are?” 

“We go to church together; I have been helping out when I can.  I am glad you got to see her.  Maybe you can come back soon?  She gets tired so quickly now.” 

The blood drained from Dinah’s face at those familiar words, her heart failed and her fingers went cold, “Oh Lord.  What do you mean- tired now?”

“I mean she is just so much weaker from when she was diagnosed a year and a half ago.  She is a fighter though, making it this long.  I know she has put up such a good fight for those poor kids of hers.  She does love them so.”

Dinah made a step to the hall and then quickly back to the door snatching her coat. She wanted to run to her sister, but instead, “I have to leave.  Nice meeting you… uhmm”


“Nice meeting you, Claire.  Please take good care of her.  I have to go now.”  Dinah could barely get her mouth to work properly.  She was ensconced in fear or shame or both. Out the door, she wanted to sprint through the snow, but it felt like a trudge. Still, she got to the car quickly and turned the key.  Before she could straighten the car out on the street and put it into drive she was overwhelmed by her grief, her desperate love for her sister and still more tears poured down her face.  She groaned in despair over the sound of methodical wipers swiping back and forth over ice and snow.  She wailed and her groans rose from deep inside her. She continued this way for blocks until the first stop light forced her into composure.

Dinah checked the rearview and threw out a prayer, “God, I am such a mess.”  She pushed in the cigarette lighter and then remembered she had no more cigarettes.  In frustration she pulled it out again and threw the igniter at the passenger window. She gnashed her teeth to hold back the suffering that wanted to erupt from that place deep inside her.  This was a place that scared her because of its torrential pain and despair.  She knew it twice before, because those depths had been dredged before when her parents had died.  The lighter had tumbled onto the seat next to the manila envelope.  The outside read “To my Di” in beautiful cursive.  Dinah picked it up and unwound the little string which held down the flap and pulled out five crisp one-hundred dollar bills and another document with the heading “Providential Life Insurance Company”.  Further down it read “sole beneficiary Ms. Dinah Stinson” and just over from that “Sum of 2,000,000.00”  Finally, a yellow sticky note that read, “Mike make sure to keep this safe for Dinah.  She will come back.  Make sure she gets this.  I believe in her”.  Through swollen eyes Dinah scoped the inside of the envelope a second time and spied a crisply folded piece of paper that had been torn from a spiral note book.  The ragged edge of the paper did not want to let go of its resting spot, but Dinah fingered it out and unfolded it to read:

Dinah, if you are reading this, then I have left this world.  I want you to know I love you.  I love you SO MUCH.  I know we have had differences, but I only remember the times when we have been best of friends. I think back to us playing dolls, riding bikes, sitting at the Dairy Cream and talking about boys that drove by.  Do you remember sharing our fears and our hopes? Do you remember all the laughing we did?  Please remember that Di.  Death has made me prioritize my life and make an assessment of my time here on earth.  Please forgive me sister for the times that I did not listen, or try to understand you.  Please forgive me for not expressing to you how much you mean to me and that includes those things that make us different. I don’t know how I allowed us to get away from each other.  I regret that.  I should have done more.  I am sorry I haven’t been there for you as I should have. Deep inside, I have never wanted you to be another version of me.  I have never needed that. But, I suppose I have pushed you to be like me just so I wouldn’t have to see you in such pain.  I wanted to fix you. That is selfish of me and I truly regret it.  Now I only wish I would have just spent more time in your presence.  I love you for who you are, my sister, and would not have you any other way. I believe in you Di.  I knew you would come back to me.  I also know that you will get past your troubles and that you are strong just like mom and dad. 

I hope that when you read this, things have turned for the best for you.  However, if they haven’t you should still count yourself rich. Your troubles are not the end of the story, those marks on your arms don’t define you.  Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”  The good news Dinah is that in our weakest moments, when we have nothing to offer, is when we can hear the Good Shepherd calling.  God accepts us and loves and wishes us to come to Him just as we are. He will then do a good work in you.  That is the Good News indeed!  Call out to Him.  Slip His ring on your finger.  If you are in one of those moments, call out to Him my sister and take a bite.  You will see that God is good. 

The next time we see each other, it will be forever!

Love my Children for me,

Traffic had stacked up behind her as she sat motionless before the green light of the intersection.  The frustrating honks did not move her and cars and trucks began to pass her by.  She threw the gear shift in park and let off the brake.  Dinah stirred around in her purse trying to find her cell phone. Hastily she decided to just dump it out upside down in the seat.  Finally, she grabbed the phone and began punching numbers.  The light changed again, the wipers swiped and swooshed, more cars honked but Dinah did not move.  Tears streaked down her face as she was holding the phone with her shoulder, and the money in one hand and the tear stained letter in the other.  Ring after ring went by as her eyes roamed from one hand to the other.  She knew at this intersection a decision must be made.  Her life’s direction would be made in this moment, at this icy juncture in the next few billowy breaths.  Her heart pounded in her throat as she anticipated the defining moment for when her call would be answered.  Ring after sickening ring went by. The wiper blades also chorused this final countdown like circling hyenas…. until finally a voice on the other end answered.  Dinah could barely make her voice work, as so often happens after true sorrow has welled up from ones guts.  Her lungs were making her body jerk as they attempted to resolve the pain she was feeling.  She tried to catch her breath, then like a child she softly answered back, “Jason, it’s me…  Yes, I did and I am on my way back.  I have to tell you something.  Jason, babe, I’ve got…” she caught herself looking at the taped pictures on the dash and was crying again having made her choice “I’ve got good news.” 

(© 2013 Kelly Rutland – All rights reserved. Written material may not be duplicated without permission.)

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