“If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.” PSALM 91
Today’s “motivation” is a bit of motivation for me, as I am so near publishing my novel yet so constantly rewriting, editing, and wanting to change things.
This is an excerpt of the two main characters, who fall in love amidst pain and suffering in both their lives which God uses for His glory. Through ups and downs and trials, my writing of both these characters is a raw telling of what it is to be human. I don’t personally relate to either character all that well, so my development of them has taken me years, but it has been such a journey tapping into the minds of other humans, an experiment I’ve been fascinated by whether through conversation, writing, or acting since I was quite young.
Here is a short excerpt that will hopefully make just enough sense to intrigue:
Her feet had taken her to that tree, that favourite tree, after dinner that night. Watery snowflakes fell in small segments, the November night sky crisp and royal blue. Amy’s breath was whispery, visible puffs as she watched the stars, washed up in a pang of guilt. It had been weeks since she’d last said a prayer about Sky. Oh, she’d prayed extensively about many other things, but not Sky. She supposed that was because she had been neglectful of the Lord, wrapped up in the world the past few days… oh, but doesn’t the world clutch us all, she thought. God was patient with her, and so her loved ones should be. Still Selfish, a begrudging little voice in the chambers of her mind still whispered.
She clasped her hands together. Precious Lord, forgive me, for I have sinned. She silently spewed a pile of the week’s sins, knowing that a literal million had been unnoted. Then, taking a peek around the white field, somehow embarrassed (yet another sin she noted), Amy began to speak aloud. “I’m sorry I haven’t talked about Sky lately. Does she understand, Lord?” Her voice sounded shaky, an outcast in this peaceful little haven. Sinful, she thought, the last person my voice should be shaky with is Jesus. “Wherever she is, can she hear me? Should I be angry with her? I know I shouldn’t, but I am. Does she not realize what we’ve been doing? Reiley hasn’t been able to work, you know, and we’ve been helping ‘em out, Bella and her. Reiley blames herself. You know, she used to dress so nicely. She can barely get out of bed anymore, but I did see her at the store once, and she was wearing sweat pants. And she’s lost at least ten pounds. I can’t help but think Sky’s so, so selfish, but… then I start to miss her.” She paused, feeling the tears threaten. Silence sounded—tasted– strange, now. “It’s so crazy how much I can hear her voice, like school is tainted with it. You know, the syrupy sort of sound, really pretty, not ditzy. I did this thing, where I’d tell myself that, for as long as I continued to smell the remains of that long-lasting perfume she always wore by her locker, she’d be safe. And I can’t smell it anymore, not for real. I think I kid myself into it sometimes. You know how I never saw the resemblance between her and Bella? Well, I don’t know, but I do now. It’s like she’s a little piece of her that I have left.
“Anyway. Tell her that I love her, I love her so much, and that I’m sorry.” Hush. Staccato crickets. The murmuring river. Amy’s fingers, drumming miscellaneously against the bark. Living and dying, time, rush and hubbub, the scary place we call home, now silent, unmoving, and unchanging, for a fracture of a moment. Come with me, the earth and dirt and grass threaten, tinted with lace and serendipity, saccharine and forlorn, to the world that I cannot leave.
The unmistakable crunch of boots on snow drew nearer, more threatening– or, perhaps, promising– by each moment. Amy held her breath until the easy-to-identify mussed hair and brood features came into sight, just as Amy found herself drawing a finger through the stick-girl. His expression encompassed all things smiley– it was all there, each muscle close, but not quite giving in.
They stood in silence for a moment, Jeremy’s arm taut against the tree and Amy’s dangling feet inches above. Snowflakes wet their hair like freefalling hairspray. She remembered the heat of their bodies, the closeness, and wanted longingly for him to voice his thoughts.
Without a word, then, Jeremy hooked himself onto the tree and sat beside her, as if he had done so many times before.
Quiet seemed so right, so true after a fair five minutes, and Amy began to realize that she really could read his thoughts. They were in sync, really. They both thought of each other, of the field in front of them, of life and promises, of change, of the known and the unknown. Jeremy was teaching her his way and perception without uttering a single word, and it was in those fractured moments that Amy came to believe that this boy was nothing short of a genius, a master. She found her brain whirring with stress and worries and regrets at first, but eventually settled into a calamity that can only be described as her first real taste of what it is to simply live. After, oh, forty-five minutes, Amy really couldn’t help but be pleased with herself– sinful, she thought quickly, no credit to her but praise be to the Lord. The whole experience was overwhelming and difficult to process. Another fifteen minutes gave her back the peace, and she no longer wondered whether she should say something, whether anyone would ever say something. Another fifteen, and Jeremy flashed her the most widespread, content and pure smile she felt she’d ever seen on any creature, slowly slid down the tree, and puttered away inside a bubble that Amy now knew could never, ever pop.