Ellie was shy growing up, and was often made fun of by her classmates at school for her slight stutter. Although she was bright, she kept mostly to herself on the playground and at lunchtime. After school she scurried quickly home to help her brother have supper ready when her father arrived home from work. Ellie's mother had left them a few years earlier, and her daddy didn't want to talk about why. He just said she was too young to understand, and let it go at that. Maybe he was right, because Ellie sure didn't understand. She only knew that she felt terribly lonely without her.
On Ellie's twelfth birthday a small brown envelope arrived in the mail bearing no return address. Wrapped in tissue paper inside Ellie found a silver necklace with the words "let your light shine" cut into it, so that when you held it up the light did indeed shine through. A small sun hung next to it on the chain. There was no note or card enclosed, but Ellie's brother told her he was sure the handwriting on the envelope was their mother's; he said that he remembered her beautiful penmanship clearly. Ellie didn't dare ask her dad, but she wanted to believe, and so she did. She pulled the chain carefully over her head and never took the necklace off again. At times when life was really hard, she would hold tight to the silver disk and remind herself that someone believed in her, believed that she had a light inside. She hung tight to the hope that some day others would be able to see it in her too.
Ellie graduated from high school with honors and went on to nursing school. She completed her nursing degree and passed her licensing exams, and then moved forward with a dream that had been in her heart since she was twelve; she accepted a position as a nurse at a mission hospital in Africa. She loved the hospital and the people of the village and they in turn came to love her, often referring to her in their language as "the angel."
A year later Ellie flew home for a short vacation with her family. She was asked to give a presentation at the school about her mission work in Africa, and members of the community were invited to attend. She shared slides of the people of the village as she talked about the work they were doing at the hospital. Everyone was amazed at how this once shy little girl had transformed into a confidant young woman who took so much pride in her work. Her passion for the African people was obvious, and there was no doubt of her value to the mission work being there.
As they were enjoying refreshments after the presentation, a middle-aged woman slowly approached Ellie. She reached up and lightly fingered the "Let Your Light Shine" necklace that Ellie still wore, and then pushed a folded note into her hand. Ellie looked into the eyes of the woman and something stirred a memory in her heart. As the woman walked away Ellie opened the note to find the same handwriting that she'd seen several years before. With shaking hands she read the words "I've always known you had a special light within you, I knew you'd find your way. Please call me." There was a phone number but no signature... none was needed.
This story was written for Two Shoes Tuesday
where the theme choices this week are rise and shine