For hours, I tried pacing my hotel room. I tried watching French television. I even tried chatting with the bellman at the doorway. Nothing could remove Quinn and Anna from my thoughts.
So I did the only thing I could do to make myself feel better. I changed into my red party dress and crawled on my big bed with my bible.
The Lord got me into this shenanigan mess and so it only seems fair that He will get me out of it. I turned in my bible to the Old Testament verse I had considered in the shower earlier. My bible tumbled open and I thumbed through the edges until I reached Isaiah. In chapter sixty-one I found so many words of comfort from God.
Although I had read this portion of scripture before, tonight it seemed to be highlighted. ‘The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me.’ The words came alive as I read. ‘He has sent me to bind the brokenhearted ... freedom for the captives ... release the prisoners.’
Now, I know the scripture is
referring to Jesus. Isaiah promised the people that Someone would come to comfort them and replace their pain with good things. That prophecy was fulfilled in Christ, the Messiah.
If I know that to be true, why haven’t I been living it? Why, for two years have I been harbouring my despair, grief and feelings of betrayal? God wants to substitute those things. He wants to fill me with beauty, gladness and praise.
Then I felt the hand of God touch my barely beating heart as I read the next line. Isaiah said that the people whose lives are turned from pain to gladness will become oaks of righteousness. They will also be a planting to display the splendour of God.
‘Cathie,’ God’s voice blanketed my soul. ‘I am re-planting you to show the World my splendour and goodness. You aren’t dead. Perhaps, I have chopped off your top, but you are not a stump of wood. I am preparing you to become an Oak for me.’
Images flooded my thoughts of the old Oak tree that Mitch had cut down in our backyard the year we bought our home. I begged him not to for days, only to be devastated. One day when I returned home after work, I found a large round stump gracing our back lawn. The long-reaching branches were gone. There was no shade from the leaves. There was nothing but an ugly stump. He had chopped it off.
Mitch tried to show me his deed was one of compassion. He ran his fingers along the rings of the naked wood protruding from the ground. “It is still good inside Cathie. The tree will grow into a large tree again someday. It just needed a fresh start.”
A fresh start.
The phone by the bed rang startling me.
“Hello.” I said as I glanced at the time. The bright red lights shone 12:37.
His soft, whispered voice carried through to my ears. “Did I wake you?”
The sound of his perfect accent brought peace to my turmoil. “Not at all. I don’t foresee a lot of that happening tonight.”
“I was hoping you would feel that way.”
Then there was a long silence. I was afraid to ask the big question and he wasn’t offering any reprieve. Finally I couldn’t stand the wait any longer. “How’s Anna?”
“Sleeping. The doctor said she is the same as before. They are not seeing any changes in her condition as of late.”
“That’s good to hear, Quinn.”
“I’m not so certain.” He mumbled.
“Wait a minute. What does that mean?”
“It means that I don’t know what to think anymore. You have successfully rattled all my thoughts, Cathie.”
That comment was almost as cryptic as the first. I wasn’t sure if he was upset with me or not. “I don’t understand Quinn.”
“You have given me so much to think about today. You have no idea how much time and energy I have put into keeping Anna alive and keeping her here with me. I don’t regret a moment of it but here is the real kicker. She wants to go. She actually wants to die.”
“Did she tell you that too?”
“Well, not in those exact words.”
“A little inside code between the believers, was it?” Quinn’s chuckle was soft but not light. His tone held an edge to it signifying the weight of all that he carried.
“I guess so. She didn’t talk about it. I could just tell from her peaceful spirit.”
“I don’t understand it but she actually wants to die. So how do I do that exactly?”
His words sent my thoughts reeling. I couldn’t image he realized what he said. However, images of Stacie and her comments of Quinn dismembering came to mind.
“Wh-what exactly are you saying, Quinn?”
“You have to help me do this. For Anna.”
His hushed tones were not giving me any confidence that my concerns weren’t real. He couldn’t be asking for me to help him end Anna’s life? Could he?
Then Quinn’s sweet voice interrupted my thoughts. “Did you fall asleep on me, Cherie?”
“Um. No, I’m still here. I guess I am a little confused on what you are asking of me.”
“I have to let Anna go. I only assumed you knew what it felt like to say good-bye to half your soul.”
A breath left me. It was a deep and painful breath, but it felt freeing to let it out. “Yes, I do.”
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