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Sunlight creates prisms of haze on my eyelashes, as cold air raises goose bumps on my bare legs. Two miles around my nearby pond, and I’m ready to call it quits this morning. It’s the same pond that I’ve jogged ’round and ’round when my heart was breaking over the pain of my friend’s attempted suicide. ‘Round and ’round as images of her rapist burned themselves into my pounding body. ‘Round and ’round as I’ve raged at God. ‘Round and ’round as sobs fill the silence of the dirt trail. My heart is too full of unspoken words to go ’round too many more times this  morning.

Yesterday, her rapist walked free. I imagine his prison jumpsuit – worn for a mere three months – collecting in a puddle at his ankles. I imagine his smirk, as his release papers are signed. And, then, I choose to stop imagining.

I walked free many months ago. No longer do I see his mocking face when I love my husband. No longer do I rage at the destruction he wrought when I bend my knees to worship.

This morning, as I stretched my calves on the trail’s guard rail and stared out over the marshy wilderness laid out before me, I prayed for him. I gave thanks. Prayed for his salvation. Thanked Christ for the emotional healing in my own heart. Sought God’s protection over every other innocent girl that man might seek to harm.

I’ve  not forgotten what he did. I’ve not ceased grieving over the twists and turns my dear friend’s life has taken since that moment of brutality. But, I’ve chosen not to be chained to the memories, haunted by my fears, when LIFE is beckoning.

Many months ago, as I strode up a slight hill on the northeastern side of my pond, I cried out to God. “Lord, my hands feel so bloody and beaten. I feel so much heartache and pain.” The bitterness of salty tears soaked my visage. But, then I heard Him answer . . .

“My daughter, MY HANDS are bloody and beaten for you. I was shamed before all that you might leave those wounds behind.”

As images of Christ’s torn palms filled my soul, my own hands burned with fire. They could be healed. They could be made whole.   

This morning I choose to give thanks. I choose to worship with the same hands that beat the air in futility. Thanksgiving pours forth for . . .

Ripples of water in the wake of a fat duck’s behind . . .

        Frozen blades of grass crunching in a chorus of miniscule ice particles under my tennis shoes . . .

                 The promise of hot coffee and peppermint mocha creamer . . .

                               A note of congratulations and a pot of flowers for a newly pregnant friend . . .

                                      The whispers of life luring me to not give up hope . . .

                                                    A pond to jog ’round and ’round . . .

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