DOZ Issue 37 November 2018 - Page 9

last minute Christmas shopping done, she felt alone. What was it her mother had always told her? God is always with you, Hope, even when you feel alone and unloved. Well, that was certainly her right now, alone and unloved. If only her mother were right about God. Hope had grown up believing in God with childlike faith. But since her mom’s death, she wasn’t so sure if God even existed. How can there be a loving God out there that lets people die? If there really is a God, where is He now? The questions continued to plague her as they had for the past three years. Hope climbed into her car and started the ignition. Though she felt the warmth of the heater in her face, it did nothing to warm her cold, hard heart. She left behind the busyness of town and hit the highway she knew better than any other road. Within minutes, she was pulling up in front of the house she and her mother had lived in when she was alive. Hope hadn’t gathered the courage to sell it, and she wondered if she ever would. It had always just been Hope and her mom; her father had left when Hope was young, and her mother never remarried or had any other children. Hope was nineteen when her mom was first diagnosed with cancer. She had beaten it that time, but a year later she found another lump on her side. This time, there was nothing anyone could do. Shivering, Hope unlocked the front door and slipped inside. Even after all this time, the house was still the same as her mother had left it; same living room arrangement, same drapes on the windows, same photos lining the mantel. It even smelled like her perfume, a sweet and rich fragrance that hung over the entire house. Hope tried not to breathe in too deeply as she trudged up the stairs. In her mother’s room, she felt a sob work its way up her throat and had to choke it back. Still, the tears came as she sank onto the bed, fingering the patchwork comforter. I’m only as far away as your heart; her mother had told her before she died, her voice a faint whisper as she held Hope’s hand. Do you believe that, Hope? Hope had nodded, the tears rolling down her cheeks much as they did now, unbidden. She stood and was about to leave the room when she noticed something stuck between the pages of her mother’s Bible on the nightstand. Before she could stop herself, Hope reached for the Book and flipped it open to where the bookmark was. Except it wasn’t a bookmark, she saw now, pulling it out and flipping it over. It was an envelope, and on the front in her mother’s flowing script were the words To Hope. “What’s this?” Hope whispered. She slid her finger beneath the flap of the envelope and pulled out a sheet of paper. The date printed at the top of the page read December 24, the day before her mom died. Hope sank onto the bed again and began reading: My dearest Hope, If you are reading this, then I have already gone to Heaven. Don’t cry now, Hope. I’m happy there, happier than I ever could be here on earth. I want to tell you how much I love you, my dear one. You’re the sunshine in my life, and you always have been since the day you were born. I was so young when I had you, Hope, but I fell in love the first time I held you in my arms. Do you know why I named you Hope? I had always loved the name, but it was then when I was holding you that I first felt full of hope. No matter what the future held, I had my little girl, my precious Hope. You were so 9 happy all the time, full of hugs and giggles. I remember one occasion when you were very young, about three years old. I asked who loved you and you told me, “Two people, Mamma. You and Jesus.” Oh, I remember that day as if it were yesterday. You always knew how to make me laugh and cry. I love you, Hope, and so does Jesus. Never forget that. No matter how old you get, you’ll always be my little girl. Never stop believing, no matter how dark life may seem. God is with you, and He loves you. Remember, my precious, who you are full of Hope. Love always, Mamma The tears continued to flow even when she finished reading and dropped the letter into her lap. Covering her face, she wept the way she hadn’t in three years not as much from her loss as from the realization that her mother was, once again, right. God did love her, no matter how much it seemed otherwise, and He was with her. She knew that as clearly as if God Himself had stepped in and wrapped His arms around her. Let me heal your broken heart, my child. I know the pain you are going through, and I want to help you if you’ll only let me. Hope raised her eyes. Her mother’s words came back to her: “Remember who you are full of Hope. Remember who you are” “Yes,” she whispered. Looking past her darkness, she could see a light at the end of the tunnel, beckoning her closer and closer, and for the first time in years, she felt full of hope. I am 18 years old and an aspiring writer. I have been writing since I was very young and I absolutely love it. I have a strong urge to go into Christian fiction one day in the near future. DOZ Magazine | November 2018