A Still Small Voice

Shay O’Neal plunged herself into her worn-out, yet, comfortable sofa. The warm California sun eased its way out of another day. It was D-day for her-the first day after the divorce was final. She was alone, or so it seemed. Was she the only one who had failed so miserably at a marriage, not to mention the embarrassing attempts to win him back? And the questions that now haunted her were setting her up for another defeat.

Can I raise two teenage sons alone? Will they let me? What will we eat? Where will we live? Will I be alone forever? Who would want me now, anyway? One of the songs her husband wrote played over and over in her mind. A voice she didn’t want to remember.

I’ve given all that I can give
Now I’m down on my knees . . .
Hello sadness, I see we meet again.
Hello madness, my old friend.

She switched the off button on and thought candidly of her life. For the last fifteen years, her career sacrificed for her family, she had been a stay-at-home mom. Now she was desperate to find a job. But the working world had passed her by. Her qualifications simply did not meet the requirements anywhere. Shay O’Neal, single mom, longed to escape after a day filled with rejections.

She heard her sons argue. “Ask next time!”

“I’m home!” she hollered. Should she try to stop them now before it came to the usual full-blown battle, or let them work things out? Even the effort of having to make that decision added to her exhaustion.

Her sons’ angry words blurred in and out of earshot. “You never ask me! You take whatever you want!”

She decided to let it go. No point in a defenseless person entering the battlefield. The old sofa held her frailty for a few more minutes. The fighting continued.

Glancing around the living room Shay realized her early morning attempt at cleaning had failed. She leaned back, pulled her knees to her chin and embraced them with her tired arms.

By eight o’clock her children had worked out their differences, as best they could. Each found sanctuary in their respective rooms with their own choice of music. Both of which was noise to her ears. She drifted for another hour and thought, another day, almost over.

Shuffling through the kitchen door she found dinner dishes screaming with an unclean vengeance. The floor begged for a mopping. Who’s to know? The tiles are fading anyhow. Nonetheless, she picked up the mop and began to clean. The small of her back tensed up and she wondered if all those perfect wives with their wonderful husbands and well-behaved children were cleaning house at nine in the evening.

When the clock struck midnight she granted herself much needed sleep. But sleep evaded her as all the worries of her future, and those of her sons’, loomed heavy on her heart. The emotions flowed with silent tears and flooded her complete being. If only she could escape. She knew, of course, there was none.

Then, in the darkness of the early morning, a voice whispered.


Was she hearing things?


Her curiosity grew stronger than her fear, though fear she had. She had lost that feeling of safety ever since her husband left and found it necessary to sleep with a night light. Nonetheless, Shay followed the voice through the hallway. Something was different. This is not my hallway-much too dark. She groped around for the light switch, but couldn’t find it.

“Focus.” She spoke out loud and struggled forward.

Unsuccessfully, Shay tried to adjust to the darkness. She stretched out her arms. Suddenly her home seemed unfamiliar terrain. But before she could turn back the whisper came again.

“Shay, return to me.”

“Who are you?” she said though it was quite conceivable she knew who it was. Never mind, she thought. Don’t answer that.

She passed a door-one of her sons’ perhaps. Panic hit hard when she realized she had lost her way in the dark. Still, the voice beckoned her forward. “Where are you?” she asked each time as it gently urged her on.

Her steps were careful and slow. The carpet, like overgrown grass, was so thick she could hardly move. But she did because the voice compelled her.

At last she came to the front of a white door trimmed with golden edging. A measure of peace was restored to her although, at this point, she no longer knew where she was.

With little effort the door opened and Shay walked into a room filled with extraordinary light. There she stood, a little confused and disoriented. Both hands now raised to protect her squinting eyes. She thought she saw a man. “Is someone there?”

“Yes,” He said and offered His hand. She didn’t take it. Her eyes fixed directly upon the man who walked slowly into focus. Did she know Him? Never had she seen Him before. Yet, she remembered him as a constant companion in the past. Where and when had she lost Him?

“I thought it was You,” she whispered. A few tears streamed down her face. “You don’t show up very often, do you?”

“Are you sure?” He asked gently.

The statuesque man stood before another door-glass held together within white wooden frames. As he opened the door, the smell of fresh flowers, roses and jasmine, rushed through this master suite and engulfed her. A tender breeze played with her hair and she giggled. When she ran to embrace him a Spirit that she could barely contain filled her.

Running through sheer, white silk curtains, Shay danced over soft green grass just outside the suite. Drops of dew caressed her bare feet. She ran and played within an ocean of flowers and cool summer breezes. She looked back and saw Him still standing in the doorway and realized how much she had missed Him.

She tip-toed back inside the master suite and followed the sounds of fresh water gushing into a clean bathtub. He was there.

“I’ve prepared a bath for you,” he said.

She could hardly believe the luxury. Everything she had ever dreamed of was here. A simple floor of golden bricks and mortar with walls from the mighty cedar tree-the color of milk and honey. And a sunken bathtub filled with warm water hidden by thousands of bubbles flirting with rose petals tossed here and there. This room, though large, was a cozy and comfortable place and seemingly prepared exclusively for her. Perfumed soaps in beautiful baskets decorated a stone-washed counter. Hanging plants dressed the frame of an open skylight. No artificial light shone here.

He turned to leave and said, “Relax, take your time. You deserve the rest.”

She watched Him turn and go, but his presence remained. His soothing eyes, his warm smile and that voice stayed with her. The voice had taken away all her fears and worries of life.

The water felt supernaturally refreshing. Somehow, it reached her innermost being, and cleansed her from the inside out.

After bathing, Shay put on a soft white silk robe and made her way to the bedroom. A gentle fire crackled in the fireplace. It kissed each brick, bringing a warm reddish glow to this magical place.

Was she dreaming? She dare not ask. Time stopped in this place where peace was plenty and joy flowed in abundance-finally, a chance to rest in a sea of comfort.

As her eyes closed, she noticed an old wooden rocking chair and pictured her mother rocking her to sleep as a child to ease the pain of scraped knees or hurtful words from insensitive friends. It moved to and fro when a gentle breeze whispered through the open doors. Once again the mild fragrance of roses and jasmine enchanted her through the sheer curtains as she drifted into blissful sleep.

The grandfather clock in her dingy living room announced the sixth hour of the early morning. Slowly she opened her eyes. Her two sons clamored for breakfast. She got up and once again surveyed the room. “Oh,” she whispered, “same old house.” Dirty laundry, still sprawled across the floor, waited for her.

But something had changed. She had changed. The overwhelming joy still caressed her. She felt refreshed. There had been a place prepared for her, a place of rest. And it remained with her. He remained with her.

She smiled at her children as she helped out with breakfast and drove them to school. On her way home, before tackling the endless job interviews, Shay strolled into a local park, found a bench and decided to enjoy the Californian sun. Lost in its warmth, she hardly noticed the man who shared her park bench.

At last, when she turned to Him she was greeted with calm and soothing eyes. He looked at her with a love she was beginning to understand-unconditional and forever.

“Am I still dreaming,” she asked.

The man smiled and said, “No, Shay, you were never dreaming. Everything will be all right. I am the maker of the sunrise. The love of your youth. Stay with me and I will stay with you.” His voice trailed off to a whisper.

She cried a little. And when she looked away for an instant to dry her face, he was gone. His presence, however, continued to fill her. It was well with her soul after all. He would make sure of that, all she had to do was let him.

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