Christian Short Stories
A Journey Toward Forgiveness
By Connie Lanyon-Roberts
It was time to leave. Laura once again looked through her suitcases. Yes, for the tenth time, she had everything she needed for the trip. There was no turning back now. Either they would forgive her and she would stay, or she would return here to her lonely existence.
It would take at least two days to get to her destination, and since the weather promised snowstorms along the way, Laura said a short prayer for a safe trip.
After packing the car, Laura made certain the ice was completely gone from the car’s windows. Finally convinced the car was safe to drive, she got behind the wheel. The engine kicked on instantly, bringing a smile to the young woman’s lips. She was ready. As the car slowly drove off in the early morning, the tires crunching over the hard-packed snow, Laura headed home to face her future. It felt good to be going home. She had put this off for the last two years, but she just couldn’t stay away from her babies any longer. She was sure her children would forgive her, but she wasn’t as certain of how Duncan would react. The only way to know was to ask for his forgiveness and leave it in God’s hands.
To Laura’s relief, hours passed without incident, but by mid-afternoon, she was struggling to remain awake. She realized she needed a break and something in her stomach. A road sign she had passed earlier indicated a rest stop was just ten miles down the road. As Laura looked down to turn the radio’s volume up, something appeared in front of the car. She swerved to avoid hitting it. The car skidded for several yards, and came to rest on the embankment, which was packed with snow.
“Are you all right? I’m so sorry! I didn’t mean for that to happen!” a voice shouted outside her door.
Laura looked up to see an elderly man standing outside the car door. Reluctantly, she rolled the window down a mere inch.
“Are you all right?” the man asked again.
“Yes, I’m fine,” Laura answered. “What were you thinking? I could have killed you!”
“Please forgive me. Amanda and I were crossing the road. We didn’t see you coming until you were practically upon us! Are you sure you’re not hurt?”
The man seemed harmless enough. Laura opened the door and stepped out of the car. An elderly couple, with suitcases in hand, stood before her. “I said I’m fine. What are you doing here?”
“Our car broke down about two miles down the road. We’ve been trying to get a ride into the next town, but no one has stopped. I can’t believe no one is willing to help others! What is wrong with the world today?”
“Now Willard, it’s what’s happening these days. People are scared to help anyone for fear they’re going to be hurt,” Amanda said.
“No,” Willard insisted. “It’s because people don’t want to be bothered. That’s what it is. It’s such an inconvenience for them. No one cares that we could freeze to death out here. That by morning the police, who are never around when you need them, would find us like two Popsicles on the side of the road,” he said irritably.
Amanda ignored his comment and put her hand out to Laura. “My name’s Amanda Blake and this irritable person is my husband, Willard.”
“We’re so sorry to have caused this mishap.”
“As long as you’re both all right.”
“We’re fine. A little cold and tired, but we’re okay,” Amanda said with a smile.
“Look, I can take you to the next town, if we can get my car out of snow.”
“Don’t worry, my dear,” Willard said. “Just leave it to me. First, I’ll check to see if the car’s all right to drive, then we can be on our way. We really appreciate you helping us out.”
After Willard’s inspection the car was found to be drivable, and with Willard and Amanda’s help, the vehicle was pushed out of the snow and onto the highway. Shortly thereafter, Laura was back on the road with her two companions. Amanda, Laura soon discovered, was quite a chatterbox, but she welcomed the diversion from her own troubled thoughts. Amanda conversed while Willard slept in the back seat. At least Amanda had the gift of making her non-stop chattering interesting and fun Laura thought.
“We were on our way to our favorite spot to spend Christmas, and that’s when the car broke down. I asked Willard before we left if he had made sure the car was okay to drive, and of course he said it was. And, when we get on this highway, we’ve been on it for just a few minutes mind you, the car just suddenly went capoot, died, right in the middle of the road,” Amanda said all in one breath.
“Amanda, I did check the car. I have no idea why the engine just stopped,” Willard responded. “You probably gave it a heart attack with all your blabbering.”
Amanda glanced at her husband then turned to Laura in mocked shock. “Willard Spencer, shame on you!”
Laura couldn’t help but giggle. “So where are you headed?”
“Santa Fe. It's the prettiest place to spend Christmas,” Willard answered.
“You’re kidding, right?” Laura asked in mild shock.
“Why do you say that?” Willard asked.
“I’m on my way to Santa Fe.”
Amanda and Willard’s mouths dropped. “Oh my goodness! If this isn’t a miracle, I don’t know what is!” Amanda exclaimed.
“Don’t get your bloomers in a knot, Amanda, Laura hasn’t offered us a ride.”
“I’m sorry Laura, Willard’s right. It’s just that we’re all going the same way, and, well, it’s been such a pleasure to have such a nice girl to talk to. Forgive me for jumping to conclusions.”
“Of course I’ll take you, but what about your car? You can’t just leave it on the road.”
Willard leaned closer to the women. “I’ll call and get it towed to Michael's,” he said to Amanda. “He’ll know what’s wrong with it and have it fixed by the time we get back home. It’s so nice of you to offer, Laura. We’ll share expenses, of course.”
“Don’t worry about it, you’re actually doing me a favor by coming with me,” Laura said with a lump in her throat.
Amanda and Willard exchanged concerned looks. Amanda reached out and touched Laura’s arm lightly. “Are you all right, dear?”
“I will be,” Laura answered with a forced smile.
“Are you going to spend the holidays with your family?” Amanda quietly asked.
“Yes. I,” Laura stopped in mid-sentence, tears streamed down her face. “I haven’t seen my babies for two years.”
Amanda squeezed Laura’s arm. “Oh, sweetheart, I’m so sorry.”
“It’s okay,” Laura responded, wiping the tears from her face.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to cry.”
“Don’t you dare apologize for those tears,” Amanda reprimanded. “If there’s anything I can do….”
“No, no, I’m fine. Let’s talk about something else, all right.”
“Uh-ho. You’ll be sorry you said that,” Willard warned.
And so now Laura had two companions accompanying her all the way home. Somehow having Amanda and Willard with her gave her the courage she needed to continue on as planned.
As the threesome came closer into the town of Wilmington, they were quite famished. “Laura, there’s a great little café just on the other side of town. Please allow me to buy you dinner,” Willard offered.
“Thanks, Willard. I could use a hot meal just about now,” Laura replied.
The little café was warm and comfortable with a huge fireplace in the center of the room. After a lovely dinner of a hearty stew and hard-crusted bread, the threesome settled for a light dessert and coffee.
“Are you feeling better now?” Amanda asked Laura.
“Yes, thank you. I’m just feeling nervous, I guess.” Laura said wringing her napkin in her hands. “I have no idea what Johnnie and Marie look like now. I’m sure they’ve changed so much in the last two years,” Laura said as her heart began to ache. “You must think I’m a horrible mother, don’t you? I mean I haven’t seen my babies in two years! What kind of a mother leaves her babies, and doesn’t see them for such a long time! I’ll tell you, a selfish, no good…”
“Laura, stop. We’re not here to judge you. You don’t have to tell us anything else,” Amanda said softly.
Laura’s eyes welled up with tears and she reached out to hold Amanda’s hand. “I have to tell you Amanda. I have to tell someone before my heart explodes.” Amanda nodded and Laura continued. “Duncan and I were having a lot of problems in our marriage. I was working nights and he was working days. We never got to see each other. I just couldn’t take it anymore! I think I was going crazy! One day I packed my clothes and I left. I left my babies!” Laura said sobbing. “I just took off and left them. I hate myself for what I did. How can I expect them to want to see their mother who abandoned them? You must think I’m the most horrible person on this earth.”
Amanda and Willard looked at one another with a pained look in their eyes.
“We’ve all made huge mistakes we wish we could take back,” Willard said. “There was only one person who never made mistakes. He was perfect. He will never judge you. How can we?”
“You’re talking about Jesus?” Laura asked.
“He loves you so much,” Amanda said. “He knows the pain you’re going through.”
Go to A Journey Toward Forgiveness - Part 2 to read the conclusion of this story.
(© 2009 Connie Lanyon-Roberts – written material may not be duplicated without permission.)
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