Undeserved Grace

February 13, 2017

My life was perfect; I had everything I could possibly need. I had straight A’s, an amazing boyfriend, great parents, and a nice car. My life was made. I could already tell that my senior year was going to be a breeze. I had great friends, and knew for a fact everyone liked me. I just had to sit back and enjoy it all.
It was a Tuesday which meant it was gameday, and we played our rivals that night. That is all I could focus on that day. They had not beaten us in seven years, and I planned to keep it that way. The day flew by, and before I knew it I was face to face with Sarah Smith, their team’s star player. I gave her a slight grin knowing I was about to cram the ball down her throat. We had never liked each other, but she brings out my best game.
The game got more and more intense as we kept playing. I looked up at the scoreboard which read 23-24.The game was in our favor and we needed one more point to win. Right as Mia gave me a perfect set and I jumped, my legs went numb and I could not breath. The crowd went quiet and I felt the room closing in. I fought for air, but it didn’t work. Suddenly, everything went dark.
I woke up, looking around, trying to grasp where I was. I heard my mom’s weak voice say, ¨Hey sweetheart. How ya feeling?¨ I looked at her for a second and then realized where I was. The doctors started pouring in to check my blood pressure, and tons of other stuff I knew nothing about. A tall man with a grey beard and crystal blue eyes walked in. His face didn’t look very promising. He came to me, grabbed my hand, and gently said, “Piper, I am so sorry to tell you this, but you have cancer. It is growing very quickly and it is extremely deadly, so we will have to start treatment right away.” I couldn’t wrap my head around it. I saw my mom crying. I tried to ease the tension by saying, “Well, this is nothing like Grey’s Anatomy.”
I got home and everything sunk in. Then, my best friend and boyfriend came to mind. What was I going to tell them? I called Alice and she answered the phone, hopeful that I was okay, but deep down, she could tell I was not. My shaky voice muttered, “I have cancer.” She did not say anything, but I could hear her sniffling through the phone. “I need your help with telling Jake. I can’t do this alone. . . you’re my best friend and I need you, okay?” She said okay and reassured me that she would be there every step of the way.
Jake walked into my room with an exhausted look, since he had come straight here from his work. He looked at me and asked, “What’s wrong baby?” I looked down so he couldn’t see the tears in my eyes. “I have something to tell you jake. I have cancer. The doctor said it’s really severe and I’m so scared, and I just need you, please.” He slowly walked over and gave me a hug as I broke down. I felt safe in his arms, but he did not react the way I had hoped. I told him that I loved him and he hesitantly said it back.
The weeks went by slowly, and I just wished it would end. My hair was completely gone, and I felt like such a burden to everyone around me. I could tell Jake was acting different, but I did not say anything, for the fear of losing him was too much, nor do I have the strength to conjure up the words. Alice came and saw me everyday after school. I didn’t know where I would have been if I hadn’t had her. We watched our favorite movies, and she could always make me laugh, even though it never lasted. I could drown out the pain for a short time, but it always crept its way back into my mind.
“What is the breaking point?” I asked myself. One simple negative action could send me on a trip that I would certainly not return from. I was particularly droopy that day, so I decided to call Jake. “I need you right now. Today is the day I am going to hit rock bottom. I cannot do this, Jake.” I told him as I laid on the couch, eating my life away. “Honey, I’m busy right now. I'll come over later, okay? I promise.” Putting my full trust in him, I painfully accepted the fact that I would have to continue to face that day alone. . . Or would I? Suddenly, the idea of walking over to Alice’s house came to mind. She could always put me in a better mood, and I needed to get out of that house.
I slowly paced myself for the long walk and began to think about what I was going to say to her. As I walked up, I saw Jake’s truck and my mind began to wander. Why would Jake be there? He wasn’t cheating on me. . . was he? I tried to push the thought out of my mind as I burst through the door and rushed up the steps. I took a deep breath to try and prepare myself for what might be behind the door. As I opened it, I saw Jake on top of Alice and automatically began to break down. I felt the room closing in on me as I looked into their shocked eyes. Jake jumped up and rushed to me, he was saying something but I couldn’t process what he was saying because my head was spinning so fast. “How could you do this to me Jake? I thought you loved me! Was this all just a game to you?” I looked at Alice, my best friend who I trusted with my life, and all I said was, “I trusted you.” Jake looked at me with an angry look and said, “I never loved you! You can’t give me what I want anymore and that’s that. I just couldn’t be the jerk to break up with the girl who was dying of cancer.” I walked out before I said something I would regret forever.
The next few weeks to come were the hardest of my life. I had no one. “I should just give up.” The thought never left my mind. It would make everything so much easier for everyone. I was dying anyways; I should make it quick and easy. My parents didn’t even want me anymore. The hospital bills were just racking up, and I didn’t have any hope, not since the whole thing with Jake and Alice went down. I wondered how Alice was doing. . . I missed her. I missed our late night talks, and long car rides going nowhere, but that was over. They ruined everything. How could they do that? I needed them, and they broke my heart. I couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t sleep, or eat. All I wanted to do is end it.
I had had the cancer for four months and my odds were not looking so great. A local church had heard about it and asked if they could come and pray for me. My mom, of course, said yes with welcoming arms. They came on a Tuesday and I had just finished my lunch. About 10 teenagers came over but only one caught my eye. He was a tall, handsome, tan skinned young man. He couldn’t have been older than 17. His curly brown hair fell across his face effortlessly. He had a smile that lit up the room, but you could tell it had a story behind it. My mom walked in offering us all lemonade. A girl around my age came up and gave me a sincere hug. She pulled away and said “Hi, I’m Sam.” I gave her a slight grin and introduced myself as well. We got lost in a conversation about whether or not Harry Potter should have married Hermione, when all of the sudden the handsome stranger caught my eye again. I asked Sam what his name was and she said “That’s Lane. He’s sweet, but a little broken so be careful with him. He usually distances himself, so don’t get offended if he doesn’t talk much.” I simply nodded my head and continued with the conversation.
As the days passed, all I could think about was Lane. I hadn’t even talked to him, yet I was already falling for him. I didn’t know what it was about him; he just felt like home. The church group said they would come back today, but I only wanted to see Lane. They arrived no later than 2, and I made sure to be ready this time. Lane had a blue polo and some blue jeans on. He looked tired, but not like an “I’ve been working all day tired.” More like an emotionally tired. He unexpectedly came and sat next to me. I’ve never been good with guys, so I awkwardly smiled and waved even though he was sitting right next to me. When he sat down his shoulder brushed mine which made me even more nervous. He gave me a shy smile and asked me how I was feeling. Before I knew it we were lost in a conversation about how when he was seven he lost his favorite blanket and cried for days. Then he got quiet, and softly asked me if I’d like to go to church with him next Wednesday. I answered hesitantly but agreed to, as long as he stayed with me the whole time. He grabbed my hand and began to shake it while using his best businessman accent to say, “We have a deal.”
The days went by slowly, and I started dreading Wednesday. What had I gotten myself into? I’d never gone to church before. What if Lane left my side? What if he didn’t even show? I had to push the thought out of my mind. I walked in, and everyone stared directly at me. Was it because my hair was gone? Or maybe I underdressed..I knew I shouldn’t have come. I turned to walk out when all of the sudden I felt a tight grip on my wrist. “Hey there, darling. Leaving so soon?” It was Lane, and was I happy to see him. I shot him a small smile and he gave me a brief hug. We slowly made our way to our seats and I realized I didn’t have a Bible. I tugged on Lane’s shoulder and whispered that I didn’t have a Bible. He gave a slight laugh and then went to get me one. About twenty minutes into the service, a young girl walked up to give her testimony. Before she reached the front, she had tears in her eyes. I didn’t know how to process everything that was going on. Everyone was going through something, and yet we never realized it. “I always thought that I was alone, but I had God with me the whole time. Everyone would judge my scars and what I wore to school that day, but then I realized God is the only one that can judge me. Then when I put my faith in God I finally felt at ease. It didn’t matter what others thought of me, God loves me and that’s all I’ll ever need. He also gave me the love of my life. He gave him to me when I needed him the most. I don’t deserve his grace, but he still gives it everyday.”
I thought about what she said for the rest of the night. Maybe Lane was my way of God showing me he’s here with me. I looked over to Lane, who was too involved in what the youth pastor was saying to notice I was staring at him. I started tearing up at the thought that God loved me enough to bless me with someone like Lane. I’d been stuck in my own darkness for so long, I didn’t see God’s light shining through. Lane finally looked over at me, and grabbed my hand so I’d know he was there. I laid my head on his shoulder and whispered “I think I want to get saved, Lane.” He looked down at me with hopeful eyes to make sure I was truly feeling God move in my heart. He kissed my cheek and said “I knew God brought me to you for a reason.”

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