"Silent night, holy night... all is calm, all is bright..." Lizette sat quietly in the back of the church on Christmas Eve listening to the beautiful carols, wanting so badly to believe in the miracle these songs proclaimed. She slipped out unnoticed before the service ended, tears streaming down her face. "Where is this miracle, this Savior?" she thought as she trudged down the snowy sidewalk and up the stairs to her small apartment. "I sure haven't seen any evidence of His love in my life," she mumbled.
Lizette's life hadn't been easy. Her father had disappeared shortly after she was born, and her mother had worked two jobs to make ends meet. Lizette had grown up taking care of the house and her younger brother, and rarely had time to play like her school friends did, nor was there extra money for "frivolous" things like going to the movies or the mall. When her mother was home, she was usually out-of-sorts and prone to criticizing, and Lizette was often aware that her breath smelled like alcohol.
Lizette's brother had gone off and joined the Army when he graduated. When he returned from the war he was different, obviously struggling with the experience and she couldn't get him to listen when she begged him to get some help. He committed suicide less than a year after he returned home; it broke Lizette's heart. Her mother's drinking escalated to the point where she was no longer able to hold a job, and spent more time in hospitals and rehab centers than she did at home. She was angry and bitter, and had little time for Lizette, once saying in a drunken rage that she wished Lizette had died instead. Lizette didn't go to visit her after that.
Christmas Eve found Lizette alone, having recently broken up with an on-again, off-again boyfriend. Deep down she knew the relationship was never going to go anywhere, but at least he had been someone to keep her warm at night. Too depressed to stay up any longer, Lizette crawled into bed and cried herself to sleep.
Fast asleep, Lizette dreamed that her brother was there sitting on the side of her bed, talking with her just like he used to before he went off to the war. He looked well and wonderful, smiling that amazing smile that melted her heart from the time he was very small. In the dream they talked about his life and her life, and their mother's, and he told Lizette that he was at peace know, that he had made amends for the sorrows that had resulted from his actions as a soldier, and for choosing to take his life. He told her that it was the wrong choice, and he regretted it, but that he had been forgiven. Lizette could see the calmness in his face and voice and knew that what he was saying was true.
Lizette's brother then told her that their mother was not well physically, that her body had been badly damaged from all the years of drinking, and that she would soon be departing her earthly life. He urged Lizette to go and see her, to make up with each other before it was too late. Lizette could never refuse her brother anything, so she promised that she would.
The rest of the dream seemed more hazy, and Lizette had a hard time remembering it clearly later. Her brother had told her something about a wonderful opportunity that was going to come her way which would take her to a new place where she would make new friends and meet someone special. He told her that he saw her surrounded with laughing children, but she wasn't clear if they were children of her own of a classroom of some kind.
The last thing she remembered of the dream was him bending down to kiss her check and whisper in her ear that God loved her dearly and she should watch for a sign that the Christ child was going fill her heart with such joy that she would shine, and everyone she encountered would notice. He told her that all she needed to do was to believe... and then he faded away.
Lizette cried out to him in her dream, begging him not to go, and woke up in doing so. Opening her eyes, she could see her brother was nowhere in the room and she realized that she had been dreaming, but it seemed so real, so very real. She touched her face where he had kissed her, and wanted to believe that he had been there. Just then she noticed the bright light shining through her bedroom window. Slipping out of bed, she crossed the floor and peered out the window. High up in the sky she saw the most brilliant star she had ever seen. The little stars around it seemed like tiny pinpoints of light by comparison. She stood there in awe, gazing at the beautiful star shining so brightly, and suddenly she realized what night this was, and what had occurred on this night so very long ago. This was her sign! It was Christmas, and this was the Christmas star, guiding her to the light of Jesus, guiding her home.
This was written for Two Shoes Tuesday
where the theme choices this week are midnight and mystery.
If you enjoy writing, come and join us!