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“Umph,” she sits down on the cold bus seat and looks away. Long tatty hair runs down her back, tattoos and scars intertwine on her white skin. Her eyes are deep blue that remind me of an ocean of tears locked inside her heart.
My heart begins to beat. I am sure she can hear it hitting the sides of my rib cage. Her eyes are swollen and her hands shake violently. She can’t seem to sit still. I know I am supposed to speak to her but I am unprepared. What can I offer her? My black backpack at my feet has the corner of a Christian teenage girl magazine sticking out reminding me of the article called, “Helping a Self Destructive Friend” within the cover. If only I had read that! It’s too late now, training or no I have to do something. I nonchalantly glance sideways to look at her face and I notice some tiny tears escaping the corners of her pretty eyes “Are you OK?” My stomach does cartwheels as I ask.
“Does it look like I am OK? What is OK? I don’t even know how OK feels anymore,” her tone is angry and biting.
See God! She doesn’t want to talk! But for some reason I cannot shrug this comment away. I feel a prodding in my spirit to continue speaking to her, “Do you want to talk about it? Do you need help?” I must sound so dumb, I wouldn’t be surprised if she got up and walked away.
“Actually, I think it may be time for me to get some help. I don’t know what to do though or where to start.” She replied helplessly.
God? What do I say now? I am definitely not trained for this one!
“Ask her about her past. Ask her about how this happened,” He gently whispers into my ear.
I am so focused on the hurting girl I barely notice the audible voice of God, and how amazing that is. “I am not a professional, but maybe you should start where this began. You know start wherever you started hurting.”
She looks at me surprised that I care and want to help, “I think…it started when….no it was before that…” She bites her nail, “It started when I killed my baby.”
I try to conceal my shock. They never prepare you for what to say when someone
She doesn’t notice my surprise or my lack of experience in counseling and she continues,” I mean ‘aborted’” She rolls her eyes at the word, “They tell you all these things to make you feel better about what you are doing. They make it sound like it doesn’t matter, but it does. I saw his face and I felt his heart beat and then I killed him. Afterwards, nothing mattered.”
I didn’t know what to say, the words escape me, I am completely speechless. I run through the Bible verses I’ve memorized but to no avail, no words even scripture seem to fit this moment. But it does matter. I want to say, you are important, and God loves you. Instead I say, “Hold on. Let me get something from my bag.” she stares at me the hope in her eyes shows that she wants me to bring out a cure or an anecdote for her pain. I pull out my old marked up Bible, the Bible I’ve highlighted everything in! I scan the pages praying as I do to find something anything to tell her.
“What is that?” she asks.
“This is the book of hope.” I say because I know it’s the only book that gives real hope. “This book is the book of new beginnings and freedom from pain and bondage.” I am about to keep speaking to pour truth into her broken and weary soul just as Jesus would because suddenly the words are coming and I know exactly what I want to say. I want to invite her to church and tell her about the fresh start Jesus can give her and that her baby is in heaven in Jesus’ arms.
“Rachel! Oh my goodness! Is that you? I haven’t seen you in forever!” the voice is familiar. I set the bible down between me and the girl momentarily and the bus lurches to a stop to pick up the business men from downtown. I turn around to see who this interruption could be.
My heart is elated to see my best friend from grade school, Sarah, “Oh my goodness! Hey girl. What are you doing in town? I thought you were going to school in Texas?” I ask.
She smiles and nods, “Yeah. I am just here for a visit to see my grandma.”
“Oh, we should totally get together while you are in Mobile. Call me OK? I gotta take care of something real quick.” I turn back around to speak to the girl and I see the bus doors close. I stand up. This seems like a movie. Where did she go? Did she seriously just get off the bus? I turned around for ten seconds tops! I look and I can’t find her, she must have gotten off the bus in downtown Mobile. I return to my empty seat and sit down, a perplexed look on my face.
“Is everything OK?” Sarah asks and the words sting as I remember the girl asking me what OK felt like, “Can I sit here?”
“Oh I thought I lost something, but it’s OK.”