Chapter Twenty One:
The days melted into weeks and then months. I was surprised at how quickly our first semester at college was going by. Soon Christmas break was upon us, and we were heading home to spend time with my Mom, Aunt Sheila and to once again talk about the wedding plans for Mom and Kenny. I could not believe at how quickly time was flying by, but time had a way from slipping by us, I understood that.
Myra and I were doing well in our classes and we could celebrate that fact. I was managing to keep my grade in beginning college Algebra which proved challenging to say the least. I could do the work, but math by no means was my favorite subject. I preferred English, even history to math, but I knew I had to take the classes so there was no use worrying about it. Besides I had made it through a life changing injury, I certainly could make it through College math, and I was, I would continue to. It was going to be nice though to have a couple of weeks to celebrate the Holidays and reflect on the many blessings of the Lord, as well as spend time with family. A couple of weeks would be the perfect break, and I was grateful for it. I had to reflect on, a lot to thank the Lord for and I was going to do plenty of thinking about that, but I was also going to enjoy spending time with Mom, Aunt Sheila, even Kenny, and of course Myra. It seemed we spent a lot of time together, but we were best friends, as close as two sisters, even though we were not blood, the time together was a blessing. Sure we had times when we just needed space to ourselves and that was understandable, but generally we did not mind one another’s company.
I was still having the dreams, more like flashbacks really, but they had lessened some, which in a way was a relief. Though the dreams were not disturbing, they did seem to keep my mind occupied for a time, and sometimes that interfered with a restful night sleep, which affected my classes. I still managed to get good grades, I continued to study hard, even when the dreams were at the strongest, but it did prove more difficult and I was going to thank the Lord for getting me as far as he did. I was glad that the dreams had finally slowed down some.
“I am ready for vacation, what about you?”
“I am most definitely ready, don’t worry about that.”
“I’m not worried I can’t wait to spend time with our Mom’s. I know we made it home a few weekends this semester, but I think we were joking ourselves when we said we would make it home every weekend. It’s just not the same anyway, and this is Christmas time, we are going to have a lot to celebrate, the birth of our Savior, that’s always an awesome reason to celebrate.”
“I am with you a hundred percent on that My, you are right, we have the greatest reason to celebrate, the birth of Jesus Christ. Our Savior.”
Lord you have been so good to me, I want to take this time to thank you for giving us your Son, born of a virgin, so many times when Christmas comes we forget what we are really celebrating, but I pray that is not the case with me. I never want to forget the reasons we celebrate Christmas, I never want to take Christ out of Christmas as so many do when they try to make it something “Politically correct” I think that’s just plain foolishness on their part, and truth be told I could never really understand it. I guess there is a lot about the ways of the world I do not understand though, and perhaps I do not wish to understand. I would rather live in the spirit, than be ruled by the flesh. Lord help me to lead that kind of Life, I love you and I praise you.
“I know it’s awesome to think about what we are truly celebrating isn’t it?”
“Yes it is Myra, I cannot imagine celebrating without understanding what we were celelbrating.”
“Me either Sienna.”
Myra and I talked as we packed my car with the gifts we had picked up for our families. Little things we had found when we were out and about, on those rare occasions when we found the time to do something other than school work. It wasn’t that we had our nose buried in books 24/7, because we didn’t, but college was a lot more time consuming than high school. Perhaps you had a little more freedom and were a little older, but with freedom came a very real sense of responsibility, and we both understood that it was our responsibility to keep our grades up, we managed to do that too, because we did our best to get our work done, and to study as much as possible, without over doing it. I was sure though that there had been a time or two or perhaps more than that we did push ourselves, almost to the breaking point and had to step back.
My car was soon loaded down with the gifts and our luggage, somehow leaving room for me, Myra and my chair. I did not know how we did it, but we managed and I was thankful for that. Truth was I was thankful to be on my way, no matter how loaded down the car was. As long as we had packed it safely so I could see to drive, and we had been sure of that, perhaps my injury made me even more cautious than some about how I did things, how aware of the road I was. I looked at that as a good thing though and I was glad I did things the way I did. I believed that it allowed me to be a safer and cautious driver, and that was definitely a good thing.
Lord thank you for giving us a home and a family to go home to at Christmas. I know some are not as blessed as we are when it comes to having a family to go home to at Christmas time. I could not imagine not having that blessing Lord. I ask that you bring comfort to those who are alone during Christmas time, who have no one, show them your love if they do not already know it, and give them the peace that passes all understanding. You are good Lord, and you have blessed us in so many ways.
“I don’t think we could get another thing in here.” Myra said as we finally loaded ourselves into the car, and headed home. It was starting to look like we hijacked Santa’s factory.
“I don’t think so either, and I don’t think we better try, but at least we got our families some nice gifts, but more than that we are going to get to spend time with them.”
“I am looking forward to it, it’s nice to spend time with our family. I know some of our classmates couldn’t wait to move away from home, but truth be told I was a little nervous when the time came. I knew I was doing the right thing going to college, but it didn’t stop me from being nervous.”
“I was a little nervous too My, you can be assured of that. I did not know what college life would bring. I did not know how people would treat me, but knowing I was going to have you for a roommate made it a lot easier for me to deal with though. It gave me a greater level of confidence.”
“I felt the same way, at least we got to share a dorm room, not be roomed with complete strangers.”
“I cannot argue with you there.”
The drive home that normally took two hours, took almost three with the Holiday traffic. It seemed everyone was travelling for the Holidays. The excessive traffic made me a little nervous, I still got nervous when I was on the road with a lot of people, but I managed to hide my feelings as best as possible, and push on. I was sure Myra could see my nervousness, but she was gracious enough to not call me out on it. I was just glad I was not travelling alone. I felt more nervous when I was travelling alone, because the fact is if something went wrong I could not physically change a tire, or something like that. I just had to go on faith, and that is what I did. The Lord always managed to get me where I was going in one piece though. I really did need to stop worrying so much, because no matter what the good Lord helped me through, and I was grateful for that.
“I love the decorations, the music, it’s all so beautiful.” Myra said, lost in her own world. Somewhere in her thoughts.
“Yes Christmas time is so full of beauty, color, even if the weather is dreary outside the decorations always manage to cheer me up.”
“I know the feeling, they cheer me up too. And when you see a child in line to see Santa, you cannot help but feel the wonder of Christmas.”
“Amen to that.”
Christmas music filled the car, and I could not help but sing along. I did not have a voice like Carrie Underwood by any means, but I had heard worse singing. I was more of a writer than anything anyway, but the music just invited you to sing along, soon Myra was joining in, and our voices were overpowering the radio, but it was okay. We were having such a good time, that when the song was over we could not help but laugh.
“Something about Christmas makes us become like little Children again.” I told Myra laughing.
“Nothing wrong with that.” Myra countered back. “You know Jesus had a special place in his heart for the children.”
“I know and I agree, it is good to become like little children every once in a while. Besides our childhood wasn’t so far back that we don’t remember the joys as well as the sorrows.”
“Funny how the struggles don’t seem so bad in retrospect. After the injury, I realized that all the things I had thought were life altering at the time, were just a part of growing up. It wasn’t until I was in the hospital I discovered what was truly life altering.”
“I know Sienna, I remember well. What happened to you, touched us all.”
“I know it did My, and I am thankful I had your support.”
“You still do Sienna, you always will.”
“No thank you Sienna. Now how did we get off of the subject of Christmas?”
“I honestly don’t know. Do you think my Mom will like the jacket I got her?” I asked Myra.
“Sienna you know she will. She likes anything you get her, and if she doesn’t like it she would never admit it.”
“I know I just wanted to get her something special.”
“Sienna whatever you get her will be special, you know that, but yes I think she will really like the jacket. It’s really cute.”
It was nice having a conversation that was not so serious, just talking about Mom’s gift with my best friend. I was glad I could ask for her opinion on matters that were serious and those that were not so serious. I had a great friend in Myra, and I knew it. I knew she felt the same way about me too, that was a blessing in itself.
“Thanks Myra. I don’t know why I am being silly about this, I am sure you are right Mom will like it. I just wanted to get her something special.”
“You did Sienna, and the fact that you are going to be there to celebrate Christmas with her, is going to give her a reason enough to feel great.”
We passed the time in traffic talking back and forth, singing along to the radio, and when it got too bad, we decided to pull into a fast food restaurant to get a bite to eat. We had both gotten hungry, and decided that at this point stopping was our best bet. Traffic seemed to be crawling at snail pace, and I really did not feel like being stuck in it for what seemed like hours upon hours. Getting out of the car and getting a bite seemed like our best bet.
Lord thank you for this food, and thank you for letting us be safe on the road so far, as we continue on our way home, when we are done eating here let us have a safe journey. We ask that you let this food provide nourishment to our bodies, as your word provides nourishments to our souls. Thank you for a beautiful Christmas season, may we never forget the reason we are celebrating. Let us not get so wrapped up in the commercialism of it all, that we forget, that it is about Jesus. We are celebrating Jesus birth.
“I’m glad we decided to get out of traffic for a while. I called my Mom and your Mom, they said they figured we would be late, they heard the traffic reports. It’s crazy, but it’s not all traffic, I guess there was a bad accident just north of here.”
“I hope that no one is seriously hurt.”
“I don’t know Sienna, but I am sure grateful that the Lord has guided us this far, and kept us safe.”
“So am I Myra, believe me.”
After I was injured I was afraid at first, whenever I saw a traffic accident, it made me very nervous. I was slowly overcoming that, but I still had a ways to go, and whenever I heard of an accident I found myself praying. I had been hit while crossing the street in a crosswalk by a drunk driver, and I had survived but I knew not everyone was as blessed as I was. I mean not everyone survived the kind of injuries I survived, yes I had my scars, yes it had messed up my spinal cord, but I had lived. I knew that if God’s hand had not been there I would have likely died. I was grateful for my life, and I thanked the Lord for it on a daily basis.
“Let’s pray for the accident victims, whoever they are.” Myra suggested. I knew she was thinking about what had happened to me, and how I had been surrounded by prayer. I was grateful for the suggestion though, and I found myself praying with Myra, for these people whose names we did not even know.
Lord these people who were hurt in the accident, please keep them safe, help them not to be scared, so they don’t go into shock. Show them that you are with them. Lord let them not be seriously injured, or worse. You know the situation Lord, and you know their names I do not, but I am praying for these people, because when I was hurting I had strangers praying for me, and because you tell us to pray for one another. Thank you Lord, and when we get back on the road, let us do so safely, and let there be no accidents. Lord if anyone is even thinking about getting behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol or drugs, make them stop and think about it, because lives can change in an instant, people can be destroyed, innocent people and I know Lord that is not what you have in mind for your children.
“Thank you for praying with me Myra, you know how it hurts my heart when I hear of accidents, and people getting hurt.”
“I know Sienna and I understand completely, I feel the same way. Ever since you were hurt I have found myself more aware of others pain, and it breaks my heart when I hear of thoughtless accidents, that could have been prevented if someone did not decide to get behind the wheel under the influence.”
“I know My. And believe me I know how dangerous it can be, I have lived with the aftermath of it, but the good Lord has got me this far, I really have no reason to complain. I just feel for those who do not have the faith or strength I found in the Lord.”
“I feel bad for those who do not know the Lord as well, especially when they are going through something like the aftermath of an accident. I really do not even want to begin to imagine what it would have been like for you if you did not have the faith in the Lord, you had and have. If you were not a believer I do not think you could have come out of everything as well as you did.” Myra said.
“Myra I know I could not have, it is only by God’s grace that I survived and remained strong and positive as I did. Now don’t let me fool you I had those why me moments, I was far from the perfect warrior, and I must admit sometimes I still feel sorry when I see people doing things that had once come so easily to me, I question and I cry out. I guess that is only normal, but I refused to just sit around feeling sorry for myself. I feel that would be dishonoring God, after all he has done for me, he did not let me survive this, just to sit around feeling sorry for myself. He wants me to live a good and productive life, I truly believe that.”
“So do I Sienna, believe me so do I.”
You will have your struggles, and you will have those times when you question. You might fear a sense of fear when you hear of someone getting hurt like you did, that does not mean there is something wrong with you, far from it, it just shows you are a sensitive and caring person who does not want to see others suffering. It shows what a good heart you have, and I believe that no matter how hard of a shell you try to cover yourselves up with, you have a soft and good heart. You are a good person Sienna, and you could have done nothing to deserve this, any more than any other person who is plowed down by a drunk driver deserves to be hurt in anyway. It is not about punishment, it is about someone making a stupid thoughtless decision and changing or destroying a life. You have a choice though, you can hold onto that anger, or you can turn it into something positive.
In the midst of my mind going back to that memory, I heard my cell phone go on, informing me I had a new email. I opened the box to discover it was from Justin. The same man who had caused me to be in this chair, who had taken my ability to walk away from me, but I was not angry or bitter towards him. I refused to be either one, I wanted to reach out. I wanted to share Christ love with him.
I know Christmas time is here and you are probably either with your family or on your way to being with them. I wish I could say the same but of course the fact that I am not is my own fault, and I am not asking for your pity. I just felt the need to write you and thank you for writing me back.
To answer your question about whether or not I have accepted the Lord as my savior, the answer is no I have not. I grew up in a strong Christian family, but I strayed from those beliefs a long time ago, being here in prison and listening to what you have to say on the matters of faith, have given me a new opportunity to think about my beliefs, or lack of beliefs as the case may be, but the fact is your question caught me off guard. After all of the pain I have caused you, you are worried about the state of my soul? I do not know what to think about that honestly, fact is if I were in your place I would probably be angry with God, I would question his existence just for allowing it to happen. I know what happened was all my fault though, it was not God who got behind the wheel drunk I did, and I changed your life forever. Yet somehow, you seem to be positive, you do not seem to be sitting around dwelling or even being angry about what happened, I find that truly amazing. I guess I am impressed at the depth of your faith, and I appreciate your prayers, although I am not at all sure I believe in the God you are praying to, or have a belief in any God for that matter. I guess you would say I am an atheist, but you are making me question even that, and I have a feeling that may not be a bad thing.
I hope you have a Merry Christmas, and I would not mind your continued prayers if you are inclined to do so. If you do not want to pray for me though, I completely understand after what I did to you.
“Another email from Justin?” Myra asked, the traffic had finally calmed down, the accident had been cleared so we were making our way to the car, to get back on the road.
“Yeah. I really don’t know what to think about it, or what to say about it even for that matter really.”
“Honestly I wouldn’t either Sienna. I still do not know how you can be strong enough to forgive him, even encourage him. You truly live by the ideas Christ has for you, and I must say I am grateful you are my best friend. You have taught me so much about faith, about believing in the Lord, and about forgiveness. You have definitely taught me more things about forgiveness than I can count, simply by trying to lead a Christ like life.”
“Myra I am not perfect believe me, and I get angry, I have my moments, but I know that God is always there, just as I know you believe the same thing.”
“Yes I do.”
“See, so you are strong too, and I admire you. You stuck by me through everything My, there have been times the good Lord has used you to give me strength, and I am more than grateful you have been willing to be that vessel.”
“I am grateful the good Lord saw it fit to use me in that way.”
“So am I My, so am I.”
Chapter Twenty Two:
We made it safely to my Mother’s house around ten that evening. Aunt Sheila was there as well, they were looking at pictures of wedding dresses, talking about Mom’s upcoming wedding. Kenny would be coming by in the morning for breakfast. It had been awhile since I had seen the man who was soon to be my stepfather, and I was grateful I was getting the chance.
My stepfather. The words sounded strange almost foreign. Besides he was closer to a Father, than my real Father ever was. Maybe one day I would start calling him Dad, truth was I didn’t know. I was just glad that Mom was happy. She deserved to be happy. My Mom was an amazing woman who spent her life doing for others it was about time she had a reason to celebrate for herself.
“I am glad you girls made it here safely. I know the traffic was kind of crazy, and that accident, thankfully I heard there were no fatalities, though from the sound of it I don’t know how that’s possible.”
“With God anything is possible Mom.” I said.
“I know sweetie, and I am more than grateful for that. He let you survive what happened to you, and turned you into the beautiful young woman you have become.”
“Thanks Mom, you get some credit for that to you know. You raised me in a good Christian home, and I will never stop being thankful for that.”
“I know you are sweetie, and I am glad I am a believer.”
“So am I Mom.”
Lord thank you for giving me the Mother I have. I know you smiled down, when you put us together. I am truly blessed by that fact, and I am blessed by the friends in my life. You have been good to me, and I pray I remember your goodness not just now at Christmas time, but throughout the year. I know my prayers often sound rambling and I often repeat myself but Lord I have a feeling you do not mind, as long as I take the time to spend with you and reach out to you.
“I am really happy for you and Kenny Mom.”
“So am I Sienna, I wasn’t sure I could ever be this happy, short of watching you get married and starting a family of your own, but here I am planning for my wedding, that’s only a few months away.”
Just this past summer I had dreams of a wedding too, marrying Chad, starting a family, but then he says that he is not ready for that kind of commitment, that we should see other people. I thought we would be together forever Lord, and I know you must have a greater plan for me, but Lord it still hurts sometimes. I still long to feel his embrace again, to hear him say he loves me. I know you have a reason for everything and I should not question, but in this I have been questioning Lord.
“Sweetie you are going to get married and have a family of your own someday. I really believe that. Chad may have broken it off and in my opinion that is his loss, but I really believe some lucky man is going to look at you and fall in love. I believe that with all my heart Sienna, do not lose hope.”
“I’m going to try not to lose hope Mom. I have great hope in the Lord, I guess I just question whether men find me truly attractive. I have felt that way since I was hurt truth be told. I try to brush it off, but I can’t really help it.”
“Sienna do you think being hurt made you any less of a person?”
“No of course not Mom.”
“Then what makes you feel that you can just assume every guy is going to be turned off by what happened to you. You still are a beautiful young woman, your legs simply don’t work. You are the first to tell everyone your inability to walk does not define you. You have proved yourself a capable student, and someday you will be a capable wife and Mother.”
“I hope so Mom.”
“I know so Sienna.”
“Thank you Mom, your right and I am being silly, besides we are here talking about you and Kenny. I know you guys are going to be happy. I really like him Mom, he is going to be a great husband, and it will be my honor to have him for a stepfather.”
“I am really glad you feel that way Sienna, you know that makes me happy.”
“I am glad Mom, because you deserve to be happy. I hope you know that.”
“Thanks sweetie, now let’s start getting ready for Christmas, we still have a few months before I am a married woman. We can talk about that more later.”
“Alright sounds good to me.”
The tree was beautiful decked with lights, garland, and ornaments that had been collected throughout my life and Mom’s life. The angel still sat in the box on the counter, waiting to be hung. I used to climb the small step ladder, and hang that ornament, feeling so proud every time I did. I looked at the ornament and the tree, and let myself feel a tinge of sadness. My days of hanging that Angel were gone.
“Sienna are you okay?” Myra asked.
“Yeah I’m fine.”
“You don’t look fine.”
It only took a moment for Myra to realize what was wrong, something so little that I could no longer do. I was grieving, though I did not want to be. It had been three Christmases since the accident, two and a half years, and this was not the first time I had been unable to hang that ornament but right now it was bothering me, and I honestly did not know why.
“Sienna it’s okay. I will do the honors if that’s okay with you.”
“Yeah that’s fine.” I said sniffing back the tears.
“Sienna it’s okay to hurt, and it’s okay to cry. I won’t tell anyone okay. It’s just us here now anyway, my Mom and your Mom went out to do some last minute Christmas shopping.”
“Thank you Myra, I kind of feel silly.”
“Sienna I think we all feel silly from time to time, and you are only human, those tears were going to come at some time. It seems that since the accident you have been fighting to hold everything in, when you really shouldn’t be. It’s okay to cry and grieve sometimes Sienna, just don’t let it take you over.”
“Thanks Myra, you sound a lot like the counselor I had in the hospital.”
“Sounds like she’s a smart woman.” Myra said jokingly. She turned my tears into smiles at that moment.
“I think she was a very smart woman. Like someone else I know.” I said. “And yes would you please hang the Angel, be careful it belonged to my great grandmother.”
“Don’t worry Sienna, I will treat it like glass.”
“That’s a good thing, because it is.” I said, laughing now.
Lord I feel kind of silly for the break down, over something as small as the Christmas Tree angel, but I guess it was just a reminder of the way things have changed. Change is inevitable Lord isn’t it though, and the truth is we cannot know what changes will be brought our way until they come to us. I want to thank you for helping me weather the storms, I could not have weathered without you Lord. You are so good Lord, and I am sorry if some of my actions and emotions seem petty. I thank you Lord, and I praise you for all you have done in my life.
“Thank you My.”
“You’re welcome Sienna. It was nothing, now I need to get wrapping some Christmas presents.”
“Mom has some gift bags in the hall closet. She said to feel free to use them.”
“That would save me a lot of time, thank you.”
“You are more than welcome My.”
While Myra got busy getting her gifts ready to put under the tree at her house, I booted up my laptop and opened my email account getting ready to respond to Justin’s letter. It was getting late, but Mom and Aunt Sheila were not back yet, and I was not really tired, so I felt now would be a good time to respond to him. I did not know why I did this, other than I felt the Lord’s urging to keep reaching out to him. I could not stay made at him, and I could not let my earlier meltdown stop me from doing what I felt the good Lord was calling me to do. Justin needed the Lord, and I needed to show him the way. I should count it as an honor the Lord saw it fit to use me in this way.
I know you are not where you want to be this Christmas, but I am praying that despite that you are able to make the best out of your Holidays. I am sure your family misses you just as mine would miss me if I were away, and I am sure that you would much rather be at home with them. I cannot say I blame you, but I cannot feel sorry for you either, because you put yourself in that situation, but I am praying for you, and I do want the best for you. I know that before long you will be up for parole, honestly I cannot tell you what I feel about that, because the fact is I don’t know, my thoughts have not gone that far yet, if you are ready though then I pray you are released, but if you have any inclinations at all about getting behind the wheel under the influence again then you need to stay where you are at. I am not only saying that for myself, but for potential victims, who may not be as blessed as I am. You could have killed me that day and it is hard to overlook something like that, but I do forgive you.
I am glad to hear my questions about faith got you to thinking. That is exactly what I wanted you to do, and I really do not think you are an Atheist, because I think deep down you have some sort of belief. If you didn’t I do not think you would have reached out to me and asked for my forgiveness? Perhaps I am wrong on that account, but I really don’t think so, and I really do hope you get your thoughts on faith straightened out. You said you grew up in the church, with a family who believed? May I ask what made you stray. I have been through some difficult times in my life, I have had my faith tested, even as a little girl I had things happen to me that should not have happened, an earthy father who up and left me and my Mom, but you know what, all of that drew me closer to God not farther away as strange as that may sound to you.
I hope that as the Holidays are celebrated as you read the Story of Jesus’s birth you come to realize what we are celebrating. I hope you come to realize that you do not have to go through life making mistakes and not knowing who to reach out to, because if you have Christ in your heart he is only a breath away. I pray that you turn to him, and find the joy I have found, that is my prayer for everyone who does not believe. I would like us to be Brother and Sister in Christ someday, but I cannot force my beliefs down your throat, I can only pray that you come to the realization that Christ is truly our Savior and he is worth living, even dying for. I would not be the person I am today if it were not for the closeness I have with Christ. I pray that one day you will feel that joy. I want everyone to feel the joy of serving Christ. I also want you to realize that I have forgiven you, and if you ask Christ will forgive you, so after you ask for Christ’s forgiveness you need to learn to forgive yourself.
“Sienna I really do admire you for having the strength to forgive the way you do. I do not know how you could encourage this man the way you do, after the way he ruined your life, but the fact that you can is amazing to me.”
“My, it’s only by God’s grace I have the strength to do anything. Besides the Lord has forgiven me, should I do no less than forgive Justin.”
“I know that in my heart Sienna, I just do not know if I would have the courage to be so forgiving if it were me in your place.”
“Sienna I am glad you are not in place. I pray that you never have to be in my place, and I thank you for everything you have done.”
I had a lot to thank the Lord for, and I had a lot of forgiveness in my heart. I needed to forgive just as I had been forgiven. I was thankful that I did not have to hold onto bitterness, that was just not my style, nor did I want to be ruled by those emotions. I wanted to forgive as I had been forgiven and that was precisely what I was going to do. I had forgiven Justin as the good Lord had forgiven me. But I could never know the depth of forgiveness the good Lord did for me.
“I know Sienna, and thank you. I was just saying I didn’t think I could be as forgiving as you are.”
“But for the grace of God My, that is all I can really say.”
“I know and I admire the strength you find in your faith. I find strength in my faith as well, but I think you are a stronger Christian than I ever could be.”
“My I know for a fact that is not true .”
“You’re welcome. Now let’s get back to getting our presents ready for Christmas. I can’t believe we are just days away from Christmas. This year has flown by.”
“I know it has, this is our first Christmas after high school, can you believe that?”
“I know, it seems unbelievable, the time has just flown by. I do not know how else to describe it, but I am glad we have made it this far.”
“So am I My. I had my questions at first, but God has given me a sense of peace, and I truly believe we will do well.”
“I have to believe that too Sienna. I know for certain you will, because you already are.”
“So are you My, don’t sale yourself short.”
“I know you’re right. I really need to start having more faith in myself, and in my abilities. I know God has not sold me short.”
“Amen to that sister. The good Lord doesn’t sale any of us short. He puts us all on this earth for a reason, a purpose unique to us, if only we let ourselves be used by him.”
“Sienna I understand what you are saying, and I understand now a little better why you have decided to forgive Justin. I truly am proud of you. You are my best friend, and I am happy that you are doing what is the best for you.”
“Thank you My. I pray that you will do what the Lord wants for you as well, he knows what is best for you, all you have to do is seek him.”
“I know Sienna, and I appreciate that. I appreciate you, but I think you are right if we don’t get these presents ready, they will never be ready. Did you get anything for Toys for Tots this year?”
“Yes of course, I always do, what about you?”
“Yes a crying doll for a little girl, and a dump truck for a little boy.”
“That’s great I am sure whoever gets it will be grateful.”
“Amen, it’s sad to think some children will not to get to experience the wonders of Christmas. I feel especially bad for those who have parents who do not believe.”
“I know the feeling Sienna, that is why we are called to go out and preach the gospel.”
We were starting to sound a little preachy, but that was okay. It was just a conversation between two friends who were believers and were passionate about their beliefs. I was thankful we had that faith, that we had the beliefs we had. I could not imagine life without our faith, without our beliefs. I could not imagine what life would be like without knowing we served an awesome Savior, no did I want to imagine those beliefs.
Lord bless those children who do not get to experience your joys, send someone their way, that can share the wonders of your love with them. And those children who are hungry in body and spirit, bless them too. Also bless all those who are willing to die for you. Even in this day and age, even in this free land we live in people are dying for you. When I was a little girl Columbine happened, and many who believed, proclaimed you knowing even though they did so, they would be shot and most likely killed. Give us all that kind of boldness and courage, give us all that that kind of faith Lord, thank you, and thank you for providing the way you have for my family. I know we are truly rich in the ways that really matter. I thank you Jesus and I praise you, and Lord please help us to keep the Spirit of Christmas with us throughout the year. You truly are a blessing, and a miracle worker. I thank you Jesus and I praise you, in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Before long not only the radio playing in the back ground filled the room with the joy of Christmas, but our hearts did as well.
Chapter Twenty Three:
Silent night, Holy Night
All is calm, All is bright,
Round yon Virgin
Mother and Child…
I loved the sound of Christmas Carols filling our house with Joy, the joy that could only come with the Lord. I knew that the Lord had blessed us in a very real way, with that kind of joy. He had touched our hearts and our very souls with the joy that came not only at Christmas, but all throughout the year. The spirit of giving was not only meant to be shared at Christmas time, but every day of the year. We truly had a lot to count our blessings for, and I was going to continue to count them.
“I love the sights, the sounds, and the smells of Christmas.” Myra said. “It would be awesome if we had a white Christmas.”
“As long as the snow cleared by the time we had to go back to campus. You know I don’t like driving in bad weather.”
“I know and I understand completely. Don’t worry we rarely get a white Christmas anyway.”
“I know and I’m not really worried. I was just saying.”
“I could listen to these Carols all night long.” Myra said changing the subject.
“So could I My. But I think with Christmas only a couple of days away and us telling our Mothers we would bake tomorrow we better get some rest.”
“Yeah you are right.”
“I know I am.” I said smiling.
“A little cocky aren’t we?” Myra joked.
“Sometimes.” I said trying to sound serious while grinning.
Lord thank you for giving us a sense of humor, and for showing us that you want us to experience the joys in life. So many people think of you as a harsh God, who wants to send only punishment to his children, but that is not the way you are at all Lord is it? You want us to experience the joys you have to offer, and you want us to turn to you in the times of sorrow as well. I love you Lord, and I praise you.
I was not some kind of super Christian who did not make mistakes though some people acted like I was. Even Myra sometimes thought I was some kind of super Christian. The fact was I was tempted just like everyone else, and I made mistakes, I let sin get in the way sometimes. I had nearly pushed the limits with Chad. Something I had told myself I would never do. I had not crossed that line, I could not, my convictions were to strong, but I could have, I was certainly tempted. I was thankful I had not given into that temptation though, because the truth was I did not know what would have happened had I pushed that line. I could not go on wondering though, because I had the state of mind to back off, and I was glad I had. Chad and I were no longer together anyway. I would not want to carry that kind of baggage into a new relationship. I wanted to save myself for the man I was going to marry. I knew I could have pushed those limits but I hadn’t so I had to give myself some credit, and give the Lord credit for giving me the courage to say no.
I hadn’t really discussed the fact that I had been tempted to cross the line with Chad, not even with Myra. We usually shared everything, but for some reason I did not tell her that. I guess in a way I was ashamed that I had even be tempted though we are all tempted in life, deep down I knew that. I guess it had more to do on how you reacted to the temptation. I knew deep down that by backing down I had done right, but that did not make any of it any easier. I had done anything and everything I could, to be the best Christian I could be, but I was still a person, a person of flesh who made mistakes. I did not have to beat myself up every time I did something wrong, but I did need to ask Christ for his forgiveness and that I would do. If I sinned I made sure to repent, and ask the Lord for his forgiveness. Right now though I did not need to think about my sins, I needed instead to focus on the joys of Christmas.
“Do you want to go with me to take the toys over to Toys for Tots?” I asked Myra. My Mother was out with Kenny and Aunt Sheila was doing some last minute shopping. I figured we may as well get it done, if we wanted these children to have Christmas presents in time for Christmas.
“Yeah let’s go, I need to go to the store to get sugar, and cocoa anyway.”
“Making fudge again?” I asked.
“You guessed it.” Myra responded.
“You know I am going to be sampling.”
“Yes I do.” Myra said laughing. “I think we will all be sampling.”
Myra made great fudge, the recipe she used had been her great grandmothers, and it always turned out wonderful. I was making myself hungry just thinking about the wonderful fudge. I waited all year for that fudge, but Myra only made it at Christmas time just as her Mother and grandmother before her had done. It was a family tradition and one she had no intentions on changing. The truth was I did not blame her in the least.
“I am glad that we can do this little thing to reach out to a child who would probably not get a Christmas was it for not people reaching out and buying them a small gift.”
“I know My, it’s great that we can do that. I know that I am very blessed by being able to reach out like this.”
“Me too Sienna. It makes you think of how great it is that we were raised by Mothers who taught us the importance of giving back.”
“I agree My.”
A couple of days before Christmas traffic was a little on the crazy side, but we managed to get to the store and back in one piece. I had learned to pray a prayer of thanks for every time that we made it to a destination and back safely. I knew from experience you could not take the fact that you were going to make it somewhere safely, because the truth was we did not know. We were not promised anything, but the fact that we were here and we did receive new days as a blessing, was reason enough to thank God, and be thankful.
Each day is gift Lord, I know that, I understand that, and I see the many gifts you have been given. You are so good Lord, I know that and I see that. I wish everyone would see your goodness and glory, but the fact is there is evil in this world, it is not of you Lord, so I do not understand why people continue blaming you for everything bad that has happened. We bring a lot of things on ourselves, because you gave us freewill.
“Thank you Sienna for driving me to the store. I could have gone myself, but shopping with your best friend is always more fun.”
“You will hear no arguments from me when you say that.”
“I think we have everything we need for Christmas now.”
“I hope we do, if we don’t we can send either my Mom or your Mom out to get it.”
“No I think it’s about covered.”
“Good. Now we can go home and relax. We both deserve to relax I think.”
“Yeah at this rate, I think we are going to need a vacation from our vacation.” Myra said laughing.
When we got home my Mom was back from her date with Kenny, and Aunt Sheila was waiting for Myra so they could head back to their house. I could tell Mom had a good time, by the glow on her face, but generally she glowed whenever she got to spend time with Kenny. I knew they were meant to be together. I was sure they had disagreements from time to time, no two people no matter how much in love they were could see eye to eye a hundred percent of the time. I knew they would not make a big deal over it though, they would agree to disagree and then move on with it. My Mom was not the confrontational type anyway.
“Did you girls enjoy your shopping?” Mom asked Myra and I.
“We would have if it weren’t so crowded, but at least we got it done. I hate forgetting things at the last minute though, it’s craziness this close to Christmas.”
“Believe me I know. At least you got it done though, like you said, and you got the gifts for the needy dropped off.”
“Yeah we did.”
“I think after Christmas dinner here, we will help out at the women’s shelter, what do you girls think about that?” Mom asked.
“I think that’s a great idea.”
It was just like Mom to think of a way to reach out to others during the Holiday season. She was preparing Christmas for our family, as well as Myra and Aunt Sheila, we were all going to celebrate together, as we had since the Christmas after I was injured. I was grateful that we were able to celebrate Christmas with those we cared about, but around Christmas I could not help but think of my birth father, the one who had left when I was only four. I prayed for him, despite all the pain he caused me and my Mother I prayed for him, because no matter what he was my Father. I also found myself praying for the very Aunts who had treated me like I did not matter. I prayed they would come to the Lord, and realize just how wrong they had been. I had a feeling they must be lonely and bitter inside, because of the way they had acted towards me, towards my Mother. I could not in good conscious hold any ill will towards these people who no matter what were my blood. I may be closer to Myra, to Mom to Aunt Sheila, but these people were still my family and I could not sink to the levels they had sunk to in the past.
“Sienna are you okay?” Myra asked. “You look like something’s bothering you.”
“I’m okay Myra. I was just thinking.”
“Sienna I know you, and you do not seem okay to me.”
“I was just thinking of my Father, and my Aunts, I really wish things were different between us, and despite everything I hope they are all doing okay.”
“I knew something was on your mind Sienna. I am always amazed at the fact that no matter how much someone hurts you, you still think about them, and pray for them. We need more Christians in the world like you.”
“My, don’t put me on some kind of pedestal, I am only human, I make plenty of mistakes.”
“We all do Sienna, not a single one of us is perfect, but not all of us can forgive or will forgive the way you do. I wish we did, but we don’t.”
“My I have spent plenty of time being mad at these people, wondering why they treated me this way. For a while I even hated them, despite the fact the good Lord doesn’t really want us to hate our family, but I have grown up since then, and I have had plenty of time to think. It’s Christmas time anyway, I just want them to be okay, and more than anything I want them to turn to the Lord. I have forgiven them, but they need to accept Christ as their Savior. Truth is My, if it were not for my Father and my Mother I would not be here. My Father helped to create me, so how can I continue to hate him?”
“Sienna believe me I understand what you are saying. I do not hate my Father either, but I have a hard time forgiving him for leaving us.”
“What happened? I am not sure you have ever told me and we have been friends since forever really.”
“He went to Prison when I was a baby. Held up a bank. I really do not know what Mom ever saw in him, but I guess if she hadn’t saw something in him I wouldn’t be here.”
How was this the first time I was hearing this, when Myra and I had been friends since preschool. Mom may have known, but her and Sheila lost track of each other for a while. Lord was Aunt Sheila afraid of what we would think of her? Was she ashamed of falling in love with a man who was a criminal?
“I’m sorry My. I really had no idea.”
“Sienna it’s not your fault. I never really brought it up, maybe that was kind of silly of me, because I know I can talk to you about anything, but this, this was different. Please don’t tell my Mom I told you.”
“Don’t worry My, and you had no reason to be ashamed, none of what your Father did was your fault.”
“I know that now Sienna, but when you are a little girl, things aren’t always as clear, that’s why I am telling you now. But can we please change the subject, I don’t want to talk about something so depressing, when we should be celebrating the joys of Christmas.”
“Sure that’s fine My. I am sorry for bringing you down.”
“It’s okay Sienna, I was just concerned about you, you looked a little down yourself.”
“Sorry about that.”
“You know you don’t have to apologize Sienna.”
“I know Sienna, thank you.”
Did we have any happy Christmases when we were little, when my Father was around? I really can’t remember. I am slowly forgetting him, I don’t know if he’s alive or dead. I would like to be able to tell him I forgive him. I may not understand, but I forgive him. Maybe that doesn’t make sense to some, but I really do forgive him. I just wish I could remember happy times with him, but the truth is Lord he always seemed distant, was he afraid to get close to me, his own daughter for some reason. I understand now I did nothing to make him live, but sometimes I feel like that little four year old girl, looking out the window, waiting for her Daddy to come back.
I cannot listen to that song Butterfly Kisses without wanting to break down Lord, and when I am alone I do break down. When I am in front of others I try not to, I cry because I did not have a Daddy like the song. I cry because in some ways Lord I feel cheated. I know I shouldn’t Lord I know you have blessed me, but sometimes I wish I had a Father, an earthly Father who cared. I will have that soon in Kenny though won’t I Lord. I should be thankful for that, I should look at the positive and not the negative. Lord if I am being selfish forgive me.
“Sienna it’s okay, you know that don’t you?”
“What’s okay My?”
“To miss your Father to ask the Lord questions, to grieve if you have to grieve. Sienna people grieve over losing less than you have lost in life. There is nothing wrong or sinful, about grieving, about having questions.”
“I know My. I guess I just always try to be so strong.”
“Sienna sometimes it’s good to see that you are as human as the rest of us, I am not saying I like to see you hurt, because I don’t. I am just saying it’s okay to be human.”
“Thank you My.”
“I am sorry Sienna. I shouldn’t have asked you to change the subject. I could see it was bothering you and you needed to talk.”
“It’s okay My, it’s a time to celebrate, I need to stop grieving.”
“Sienna I hope you know that if you need a shoulder I am here.”
I found myself taking my best friend up on the offer. I had a lot to let go, this time I wasn’t just grieving over what I lost from the injury, but what I had lost long before the injury, the knowledge of having an earthly Father, who loved me. I had the Lord, but it would be nice having a birth Father who loved me, and truth was I was not at all sure if the man who helped created me loved me or not. He had up and left my Mom and I thirteen plus years ago, and had not made any effort to keep in contact. He never called on birthdays, on Holidays, the only news we got were from his Sisters, and they were rather rude about it.
We all have our crosses to bear, some may seem heavier than others, but if we lean on Jesus we will find the strength to carry those burdens. Remember that Christ carried the heaviest burden of all, the weight of our sins on that cross, and he spent three days in Hell so we did not have to spend an eternity there. He paid the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. Sins that he did not commit, because Jesus was sinless. He wants to carry the weight of our burdens, if we only let him, and he wants to help us through our struggles. We only have to reach out to him.
“It’s okay to be scared from time to time Sienna? Don’t you think that Mary was frightened when Jesus came to her and told her she was going to give birth to the Savior of the world? That she was going to become pregnant, while she was still a virgin, and Joseph was frightened as they heard the news, but they endured, just as you will endure.”
“Yes you are right about that My. Thank you for reminding me.”
“Sienna I am only doing what you taught me to do, leaning on faith, to find strength and the knowledge of what to say.”
“I think you owe the Lord thanks for that, not me. The Lord gets all the credit.”
“Thank you My, I really am feeling better. I am glad you were here for me.”
“So am I Sienna.”
Lord only you truly know everything about us, we keep things from even those who are our closest friends and family in the world. We want to protect them by not telling them things, but sometimes Lord we are actually hurting them, help us to have the knowledge to know when holding back is helpful and when holding back is hurtful. Thank you for your many wonderful blessings in this life, and help us to have a great Christmas, and wherever my Father is, wherever my Aunts are, please watch over them, and softened their hearts. I thank you Lord for hearing my prayers.
My mind kept wandering to my Father, I was thinking about whether he was safe or not, truth was I was not even sure at this point if he was alive. I had not thought about the possibility of him having died, but it was a possibility, one I did not really want to dwell on, because I did not know whether or not he was a believer. I found myself praying more that he would find Christ than he would come back to his family. I knew that door had closed a long time ago, they were divorced now. My Mom had received the papers in the mail just months after he left, and she had signed them. It was around then was the last time we really heard from him. We knew he had other women before he was even divorced, and according to my aunts he was talking about getting married, but I really did not hold a lot of stock in what my aunts said. The fact was they had said things just to be hateful before, and had admit as much with pride. I could not understand that, but that was the way they had been. I had to forgive them though, and I had to stop thinking about all the wrong they had done in life. They needed the Lord, and I prayed that they would find him.
“I guess we all have our stories to tell.” My said.
“Yeah I guess we do.”
“Sienna if you need to talk I am here to listen.”
“I know My, and the same is true for me.”
“I guess God really did have a reason for bringing us together as best friends.”
“Amen to that sister.”
“Let’s turn on some Christmas music or something. We need something to cheer us up.”
“Yes I am glad our parents are out. I would not want to upset our Mom’s.”
“Me either Sienna, but I am sure they would understand.”
“I know they would, but I want Mom to focus on the good things, Christmas and her wedding that is coming up.”
“I know Sienna. I am sure your Mom is beyond happy, but I am sure she has an idea, that this bothers you from time to time.”
“I am sure you are right about that. I guess I really don’t have to hide my feelings from her either.”
“Sienna I don’t think you could hold your true feelings from any of us, even when you try, we know you to well.”
“I know My, and the truth is I am grateful for that. It’s good to have people in your life that you do not have to pretend with.”
“Amen to that My.”