This is a story about failure, sin, pain and redemption. The names and story are fictional. It is ultimately God’s story because redemption happens through the faithfulness of God working in humans. They are amazing, adventurous followers of Jesus who desire to see His Kingdom influence increase until the reign of Shalom is a reality.
Storied Past – 2
“Hello?” The voice took on a human shape. “I thought I heard someone as I was walking Phredy.”
“Phredy? Who’s that?
“My mutt dog,” the voice returned. “Oh I’m sorry,” as she moved the light away from directly shining in Ramona’s eyes, now red from crying. “What are you doing here? Are you OK? Do you need some help?”
“I’m OK, I just, I don’t know. I just needed to get away somewhere and think.”
“You look scared, and cold, too. Can I take you somewhere and get some tea or something?”
“Well, I guess so; as long as I stay away from that church on Main Street.”
A few minutes later they found their way to Holy Grounds Coffee Company. Tying Phredy up outside, they went in. As they each cuddled a warm cup of tea, Ramona was still teary. Her rescuer looked at her with tender, inquisitive eyes but had said nothing since ordering at the counter. Ramona wondered if she should say anything, if this person would change her opinion about her and get all judgmental. She just couldn’t handle much more of that.
“I’m Becky,” her new friend offered. “What’s your name?” Ramona decided she might as well be civil. “Ramona.”
“Well, can you tell me a little about why I found you in such a strange place on a dark, cold night? I’m guessing you weren’t sight-seeing.”
Ramona really didn’t feel like responding but she figured she should say something since this person had gone out of her way to be nice.
“I . . . I . . . I’m pregnant” she finally blurted out.
“Well, Ramona, I’d like to help you if you’ll let me. Uh, when’s your baby due?” Becky’s voice was soft but contained a gentle strength that also conveyed genuine concern. Ramona shifted uncomfortably in her seat. She didn’t really want to talk about anything, much less her sin, but this whole thing was her fault, according to her father, and the problem was out there now so she’d better just deal with it.
Everybody Ramona knew, and probably some she didn’t know, had heard about the baby but nobody ever talked to her about it. When she was around they just whispered to each other looking out the corner of their eyes knowingly at Ramona.
“Umm, October” she replied. Becky waited a moment before she spoke. “From where I found you and the crying and all, I take it you’re not very excited about it.” Ramona hadn’t thought about that part of it. All she felt was guilt and shame and how this nightmare needed to be ended. The “A” word surfaced in her mind many times a day. But immediately the “M” word came screaming from the far recesses of her mind and she certainly didn’t want to be a murderer.
“No. No I’m not excited, I’m scared. I don’t really know who the father is and my father . . .” Her words trailed off. “Look, could we talk about this some other time?”
“Of course. Can I take you to your house? Oh, your dad . . . Look, I have a place for you for a few nights, if you’re OK with that.”
Ramona didn’t know. She didn’t want to intrude on this new friend’s generosity but she really didn’t have much choice. The bridge overpass idea was much less attractive anyway.
“That would be very nice of you but I don’t deserve any kindness. I screwed up, you know.”
“Well, we’ve all screwed up, Ramona. Thankfully, someone was there for me and loved me through my pain.” Becky led the way out of the coffee shop to her car. Ramona was surprised at herself. Since the horrible experience was confirmed at the hospital, this was the first time she voluntarily offered the truth about being pregnant; and to a stranger! Well, at least it was likely this stranger didn’t know her friends and would gossip. And what pain was Becky talking about? Did she have a baby, too? Maybe she had a dad like hers. In any case, Becky sounded like she had some kind of an idea how Ramona felt. That was comforting.
“I just have a small apartment but you can crash there. I work evenings except Sundays and Mondays so you can have some sleeping privacy. Have you had morning sickness yet?”
“Just a few times so far. It wasn’t as bad as I’ve heard but I definitely hurled.” They both smiled. Ramona started to relax. Perhaps this wouldn’t be so bad after all. She did need to talk to someone and Becky’s bedside manner made her feel like she could finally let some of her pain out.
A few minutes later they walked up to a modest apartment building. As they headed up the flight of stairs Ramona said, “Oh, I forgot. Thank you for this, and thanks for the tea. It’s been a while since . . .”
“No worries,” Becky quickly replied. “Like I said, I am here to help out. Someone showed kindness to me and changed my perspective on life.” They walked into the tiny but welcoming main room. Phredy was finally free from his leash and bounced around excitedly. “You see, Ramona, I try to be aware of God’s leading and He obviously led me to you!”
“Oh, no!” Ramona thought. She suddenly felt weak in the knees. “Another religious zealot! What did I get myself into? I let down my guard and got trapped by another one. Why was I so stupid? I’m better off dealing with this problem myself.” Fear rushed in and overwhelmed her for a moment. Must condemnation be her lot in life? And this . . . this baby, some people called it a fetus, whatever, this baby was really more like a forbidding, future death sentence. A dark thought clouded her mind for a moment. She could bring this whole thing to a sudden stop. Maybe that was the best. Just end it; maybe her and the baby. That’s why cowering under the bridge seemed so . . . appropriate. The railing above was convenient. She suddenly realized Becky was staring at her with a worried, almost frightened look.
“Are you OK,” she enquired? “You turned real white there for a second. It’s not morning, either. You’d better sit down.”
-To be Continued-