I sit here alone on the bridge’s edge, shadowed by heavy beams that reach towards the sky like giant metal redwoods. I marvel at the beauty of a perfectly calm yet chilly night. A white full moon reflects low on the still waters that wait patiently far, far below my dangling feet. My legs swing carefree and easy as I sit here on the brink. It’s strange how they threaten to pull me down with them in one thoughtless moment; one desperate move to erase the last few years of a sinful, miserable, shameful existence -- my shameful existence filled with my mistakes and my regrets.
What baffles me -- what will always baffle me even throughout eternity, which I know I shall have to endure though it may prove to be an eternity of condemnation -- is how easy, how simple, how effortless it was to slip by such lukewarm degrees into the disgraceful state I now find myself in. It was as if one day I awoke and my bright, warm, sunny life had suddenly clouded over; black, ominous, and heavy with buckets of rain shed in the form of tears. My tears.
If only I could take it all back.
If only I could change just a few of those early choices -- those seemingly unimportant, insignificant choices. How vital they appear to me now. How different my life would be if I had not allowed even the least degree of sin to enter in. But time can be turned backwards for no one.
I gaze down far below my feet at the grand reflection of the moon. It has always intrigued me how, when it sits so low on the horizon, the illusion of a giant moon stares back far brighter, far greater, than it really is. White and clear and perfect. Even it’s reflection in my eyes appears such a bright, pure white. That’s exactly what it reminds me of -- purity.
Christ made this moon, so why shouldn’t it reflect his image; that of a pure and perfect man? I have always envied how our Father in Heaven spoke of him. “This is my Beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased.” Oh, what I wouldn’t give to hear such words said about me! But even a loving Heavenly Father must be disappointed in me now. The only spoken words I ever hear with my name attached is shameful. No one speaks well of a sinner. A failure.
Can I blame them? Yes and no. The choices were mine and the errors were mine. But if people only understood how they were never my intention. If only they understood how I never meant to end up here. Not like this. Perhaps then they wouldn’t speak of me in the cold, judgmental way that they do. If just one person understood.....or cared.
My mind recalls one whom I learned of early in my youth. I hear his words whisper to my soul like a gentle, sweet spirit. “In the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.” “For God so loved the world that He gave his only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” But the poignant words that echo in my memory the loudest are these, “For he that repenteth of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I the Lord remember them no more.”
Could this be true? Could someone such as myself -- so deeply buried beneath the consequences of sinful choices -- honestly be forgiven by the Lord? I feel something deep inside me spark with a glimmer of hope. Perhaps mankind will not forgive me, but God is greater than man. Is he not the one that knows my heart? Does he not read my intentions, sense my remorse? Even share in my sorrows? What was that scripture? “The Son of man hath descended below all things that he might know how to succor his people.”
I close my eyes and act upon that tiny bit of hope. I pray. My heart pours out to God as the moon slowly rises higher in the dark night. It shrinks to its normal size; no longer the ominous illusory monster it appeared to be earlier. My eyelids open and I wipe away the moisture; the result of earnest tears shed from a penitent, broken-hearted child. God’s child. For that is who I am. I remember that now. I am a child of God and he loves me, even now. I know it. I feel it in a surge of internal warmth that’s almost too great to contain. A peace settles over my entire being, and my sins, though serious, appear surmountable for the first time in a long, long while. Why? Because I know I’m not alone. God loves me. Christ atoned for me. And the Holy Ghost bears record to me that this is all true.
I breathe in deeply and let the air slowly blow across my lips. How strange to feel them smile again. I stand up and gaze down one last time at a view I thought earlier might be my last. But not now, because the Savior rescued me tonight.
I thank the Lord for allowing his Son to come forth from heaven, to be born on the earth in a lowly stable. To live among men -- a humble, kind, patient, charitable example. And to give me the only gift capable of saving my life eternally. This night I have gained not just the precious peace only forgiveness can bring, but I have found a true, deep appreciation for the redeeming power of the atonement of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
By Richelle E. Goodrich