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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Lauren's Journal

Going back to the idea of posting some of my older work, I found a couple of things that I wrote in high school that I thought I might share with you all.  
This short story was written for some sort of contest in my junior or senior year of high school.  Once again, I have not changed anything from the original.  

 Lauren’s Journal
Who am I? What am I doing here? What’s the point in living anyway? Those were the words written in the center of the first page of the journal I had found. All around them, filling up the rest of the page, were drawings. Sad drawings. Pictures and sketches of crying girls, angry boys, wilting flowers and bleeding hearts. Pictures from the hopeless. Tears streamed down my cheeks as I turned the page. Whoever the owner of the journal was, they were obviously hurting.
At first I didn’t want to read it. It was someone’s personal journal, I had no right! But I felt drawn to it. Something inside me whispered and told me to read it. No! I kept saying, it isn’t mine. But it kept whispering. Then I realized it must be the Spirit. So I picked it up and started reading.  I read all night. It was impossible to put down. As I read, I wept. I wept as I never had before - - and doubt I ever shall again. This girl was hurting. Her very soul was screaming for help.
  Her name was Lauren Stewart and she was 16. Very likely only a few months younger than myself. She was an only child whose parents were alcoholics and drug dealers. They never paid much attention to her nor did they care about her, so
she found somebody who did. His name was Kevin and it was he who introduced her to goth and emo and the “relief” that cutting brought. They had been together for about six months when she had found out that she was pregnant. Kevin had wanted her to terminate the pregnancy and most of her had wanted to make him happy, but part of her had wanted to keep the baby. She was struggling and didn’t know what to do. After weeks of agony she gave in and aborted the baby. I looked at the date. She had had the abortion the previous week and now was full of regret. 
She hated herself and was considering suicide. Not only was she considering it, she had already decided when, where and how. I looked again at the date; she was planning on doing it in a couple days! I leaned back in my chair. I now realized why I had needed to read that journal! I had to find Lauren and tell her that there is another way to find the love, security and forgiveness that she has been so desperately searching for. True love, forgiveness and security can only be found in one place, and that place is not in human arms. 
The next morning at the breakfast table I shared what I had read and what I had decided to do with my parents and asked them to pray for me. They approved wholeheartedly and told me that if Lauren needed a new home, she was welcome to ours. Also if I needed any sort of help, they were just a phone call away. After breakfast I looked Lauren up in my school address book, got directions and set off. Following the directions, I found myself on the edge of the ghetto. I located her house and knocked on the door. It was answered by a man who was probably only in his late thirties, although he looked much older. 
“Whadda ya wan?” He slurred. He was obviously drunk and blinded by the sunshine pouring through the open door.
“Is this the home of Lauren Stewart?” 
“May I please speak with her?” 
The man shrugged. “I gesshh” He turned around and staggered down the hall. About a minute later a girl, whom I presumed to be Lauren, appeared. 
“Lauren?” I greeted her with a smile. 
“Yeah.” she said “Whadda  want?” 
“I have a couple things that I would like to talk to you about. Would you be interested in walking down to that restaurant on the corner for a soda or a milkshake?” She just looked at me. “It’ll be on me.” I added encouragingly. She shrugged. 
“Aw, why not. Hold on a sec.” 
She turned and walked down the hall. A couple of minutes later she reappeared with a black purse and sweater. While we walked down the street I took advantage of her sullen silence
and studied her. She was about 5’7”, slender and well built.  She had cold blue eyes and her gaze was hard and unforgiving. Although it was dyed black, I could tell that her hair was naturally brown. Through the heavy makeup I could see that her face and complexion were flawlessly beautiful. 
We arrived at the restaurant, got a seat and each ordered a milkshake. We did not speak until the waitress had brought out our orders and even then we continued sitting there in an awkward silence for several minutes.  It was Lauren who finally broke it. 
“So, whadda  want?” She asked.
“Pardon me?” I asked, startled by her abruptness. 
“Well, I mean, what does a big shot yuppie like you want with a nobody like me?” 
I didn’t say anything at first, I merely reached into my purse, brought out her journal and placed it on the table. She looked first at it, then at me.
 “I found this yesterday in the school parking lot. I picked it up and took it home. I hope you will forgive me, I read it.” I said quietly. She stared at me.
 “You read my journal?” 
“Yes” I said simply. 
“Well...” I began, mustering up courage as I spoke. “I wanted to talk to you about some of the things written in it.” 
“Like?” she asked. I sent up a prayer for guidance; it was so hard to read her.
“Like how you are craving love, security and attention and you thought that you had found it in Kevin, but you still feel empty inside. And how you were pregnant and had an abortion and now you hate yourself and are going to commit suicide.” 
As I spoke, I could see that Lauren was fighting to keep her composure.
 “Well, what about it?” she asked as nonchalantly as she could.
“I just wanted to tell you that you can find the love, security and forgiveness you are craving and you don’t have to throw your life away to find relief from the pain you are feeling.” 
“How?” she asked. 
I smiled as I gently reached for her hand and told her how, if she only gave her life away, 
she would find it tenfold. She was crying as I told her of the child that came to save us from death.  It was dark before we left the restaurant that night and I took her home to live with me and my family. The girl who walked out of that restaurant with me was completely different than the one who walked in. It was as if her tears had washed the coldness from her eyes and the hardness from her gaze. Where once was darkness, there was light; where once was death, there was life. Where there once was hopeless hurt and fear, there was now joy!
Lauren lived with my family as my sister until she died of cancer at the age of twenty-five... one week ago. As I write this, I am on my way to her funeral. Not long after that night in the restaurant Lauren felt led to start an organization to help other girls like her. She had experienced forgiveness and liberation. It became her passionate desire to ignite a spark of hope in the souls of girls going through similar hurts and experiences as she had. With the support and help of me and my family, she worked toward this goal every day of her life. Over the past nine years her testimony has led hundreds of hurting young women to Christ. Watching Lauren live her life in such a selfless way has inspired me to live the rest of my life with equal purpose. With her last breath she passed the torch she had lit on to me. While I am saddened at her passing, I am comforted to know that she is in a place where there is total peace and rest. What a joy to know that her last years on earth were not spent in vain. 

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