Thursday, July 1, 2010

Fireworks of Forgiveness: Part Two

This tale is continued from yesterday's post. If you'd like to read, just scroll on down to Part One.
 ~*~

Jason stopped and stared. "Grace?" he whispered.

Grace hopped off of the pew and grabbed her purse. "I'm sorry, I'll be going now."

"No, wait!" Jason grabbed her arm. "Grace, I haven't seen you since... since graduation. Can we talk?" 

Grace looked up at Jason. How he had changed in four years. A heavy sadness came over her, and she slowly nodded. They both sat down on her pew and Jason, always the conversationalist, began talking.

"It's great seeing you again, Grace," he said, softly. "The church has missed you in the nursery and youth group." He chuckled. "The food fight picture in still up on the Wall of Weird."

Grace couldn't help but grin. "Worst idea we ever had."

"Are you kidding me?" Jason was full-out laughing now. "I was sneezing ketchup for weeks."

An uncomfortable silence settled between them for a few minutes.

"So, Grace, why aren't you at the fireworks?"

She glared at him. "I could ask you the same thing."

Jason leaned back and propped his feet up on the pew in front of them. "It was the weirdest thing. I was about to go there, but then I get this feeling like I forgot to do something." He glanced at Grace. "Since I'm going into the seminary, the church lets me do a lot of things, like closing the church and coming whenever I want to."

"And?" Grace turned to face Jason.

Jason closed his eyes and smiled. "I came back to see what I had forgotten. Apparently, God was telling me that I had forgotten to talk to you. For four long years."

Grace groaned and thumped back against the pew. "Jason..."

"Listen to me, Grace. You've been hiding long enough. Why not accept Josh's death? He's in Heaven now."

"I know!" Grace yelled. "I've heard it all, Jason. But it's all my fault Josh is gone. If I had watched him better, I could have stopped everything. The pain, the mean looks, his death."

"Wait... you're guilty? All this time, I thought you were blaming G-"

"What, Jason? You thought I was just ignoring the church because I blamed God? I let God down, I was the one who let my family down!" Grace buried her face in her hands. "How could I show my face here when I knew everyone knew it was all my fault?"

Jason leaned in closer, his face completely serious. "I want to hear it from you, Grace. Tell me what happened that day."

"Fine." Grace let her shoulders sag. "It was in the afternoon, and you know back then we were allowed to light fireworks in our backyards?" 

Grace saw that Jason was nodding.

"Well, I was supposed to watch Josh and Bridgette to make sure they stayed away from the backyard while my dad cooked and Drake set up the fireworks. Mom was out shopping for last-minute decorations, and she made Drake go with her. So Bridgette and Jason start playing pet pretend games, and I thought they'd keep doing that, since it usually took them hours alone to figure out who would be the animal and who would be the owner."

Jason smiled at her. "Just like we did when we were little." 

Grace nodded. "So they were playing, and I was like, they're going to be okay. It's fine if I call Jess and see what she planned to wear, because she was so into fashion and I so wasn't. I was just talking to her for a few minutes, but the two had somehow managed to get outside. The next thing I knew, I heard Bridge scream and then there was a huge kaboom. I saw the flash of light at the same time, and then Bridge comes running in with her clothes on fire." She sniffed. "I started screaming Josh's name and dumped water on Bridge. Next thing I know, there are firefighters and medics everywhere. I-I was so confused, I had no clue that Josh was gone. I kept screaming for him, asking where he was. But then one of the guys came up to me."

"Oh, Grace." Jason groaned.

"He said that Josh was gone instantly."

"But you said you blame yourself? How could you have known that they would do that?"

"Jason, I disobeyed my parents. They told me to watch the little ones! In doing that, I disobeyed God."

"Yup."

"I deserved to be punished!"

"Agreed. But what happened to Josh was an accident. Did you know what would happen?"

"No! If I did, I never would have left them!"

"Mistakes were made, Grace. I wholeheartedly agree. But you've been suffering all these years. Didn't it ever occur to you that God is a forgiving God?"

"Yeah, yeah, I've heard it all. But what I did is a biggie."

"But what God did is a 'biggie' too. Remember? He gave up his life for the mistakes we made. You can't keep living like this, Gracie," he said, using her childhood nickname. "We've all missed you so much. Have you even spoken to your parents lately?"

"Well, no. I keep remembering the pain on their faces. I took their child away from them!"

"You didn't take Josh away from them; it was an accident on your part. Remember, God has a plan in everything. Joshua is in Heaven now. But I agree that you are taking a child away from your parents. You've deprived them of their daughter, Grace. They miss you."

Jason took both of her hands now. "God is ready to forgive you, Grace. He's given you grace beyond what you deserve. That's God. But forgiveness is sort of a two way thing. Do you accept it?"

"What?"

"God loves you. Seriously. Why turn your back on him when He's willing to forgive you?"

"You want me to pray to Him?" Grace squeaked. "It's been so long, I-"

"Please do it, Gracie. I'm here for you. Even better, God's here for you."

"Okay." Grace looked towards the front of the church, where a huge, wood cross hung. She smiled and bowed her head, talking with One who understood her more than she understood herself. When she looked up at last, she smiled at Jason with happy tears.

"Well?" he said.

"Let's go outside. I want to show you something," Grace whispered to him.

She took his hand and let him through the big church doors, to where the fireworks were still taking place.

"That's what it feels like, Jason. It's like I'm exploding with joy! Colors, bright colors, instead of the dark night."

Jason smiled down at her, and Grace knew he understood. "Fireworks of forgiveness, huh?"
~*~

God Bless,

4 comments:

♥Bleah♥Briann♥ said...

Thats really good... I like it. So... *ahem* perhaps I didn't catch it... I didn't really read the first post, I read the second one though. But what is the relationship between grace and jason? I think its cute, you could turn it into something really cute.

Also... have you followed Guin yet? (guinevereamoureaux.blogspot.com) I'd really appreciate it if you did. And when you do... if you do. Please tell her I sent you.

With Lvoe and Blessings,
Bleah Briann

~Prism~ said...

Grace and Jason were best friends ever since they were little. From elementary to high school, but Grace broke off their friendship after the death of her brother (that's why Jason hesitated about saying he hadn't seen her since graduation. Josh's death was the real reason, and they both knew that). Anyway, I guess it's all up to you, as the reader, to decide what happens next. This story is simply a short one- everyone is free to imagine what they think will happen next for the two! :)

Actually, I am already a follower of Guin, but thanks for the heads up. I'm sure others would like to join.

God Bless,
~Prism~

Shelley said...

Excellent story! I like how you ended with the title! I really enjoyed reading it!

Maggie said...

Tell me that there is a part 3 and 4...maybe a 5 and 6. :) I have loved reading this series so far! I think you should expand the story and send it to a publisher. It's amazing!

Blessings,
Maggie
www.foreverfindingmybliss.blogspot.com

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