“Why are you crying?”
Little Rose tucked her head harder into her arms trying to muffle the tears. She felt a hand on her head, patting her reassuringly through the blanket she had covering her.
“I’m not crying.” She said, trying with all her might to keep her voice from breaking.
“But you are.”
Sudden panic clenched her heart. Who was this person? She was alone.
“Who are you?” She was afraid. Afraid to look. Looking made everything real, if you saw it you would have to face reality.
The voice was calm, gentle, strangely familiar. But it did not answer her question.
“ Why do you cry so quietly?”
Rose clenched at her pillows, uncertain. No one had ever asked her that before. Would she tell the truth to a stranger she didn’t know? Or perhaps not a stranger, someone who felt so familiar. Their hand rested on her and she felt like she had known that touch a thousand times in the quietness of the dark, in those moments when she felt most alone.
“Why are you afraid?”
Why indeed. Rose bit her lip, she knew the answer.
“I’m afraid that someone will come to help me.”
“Why is that so scary?”
“Because, then they will leave.” She could hear the tears in her shaky voice, “They always leave. And then I’m alone again.”
“Do you like it here?” the voice asked.
“No.” Rose said, pulling her arms closer around herself drawing herself inward, “I hate it here. It’s dark and it hurts. It’s like I’m cold inside and out. Everything hurts. And I’m alone.”
“Why don’t you leave?”
“Because it’s safe here. They’ll hurt me out there, I just know it.”
“Everyone.” It was barely a whisper.
“What if they don’t hurt you?” The voice was gentle, “What if there is life out there and it’s wonderful?”
Rose felt like someone dropped a weight on her chest, her heart felt like it would collapse in on itself.
“What if it’s not for me? What if I’m happy and I don’t deserve it.” She choked back the hot tears, “What if it truly is wonderful and they send me back here?” Her voice grew even quieter, “They will lock me in here and I’ll never get out.”
There was silence.
But Rose knew she wasn’t alone, there was still the hand on her back. She wished it would just go away, whatever it was. But still she was afraid to look.
“Who are you?”
“I am, that I am.” The voice said. “I made everything, I made you.”
It felt so true, something she had known all along. She couldn’t trust herself, but she wanted to trust Him so much. She shook her head under the covers, feeling the defeat fall over her.
“I can’t do it. I’m just not meant for the outside.”
“You were made for sunlight on your skin, laughter. You’re not meant to be alone Rose.” She could almost feel it, like a distant memory – warmth, joy.
But she shut it out for the coldness that she knew.
“They’ll leave me and I’ll be alone.”
“You are never alone.” The voice said, “ I am with you, forever and always. Whether you are here or there, I am with you.”
She felt the hands grab hold of her, lifting her up to sit as easily as a doll. Instinctively, Rose covered her face with her hands. If you looked it became real.
Gentle hands pulled at hers. “Open your eyes and see. The things I’ve created are good, the things I have in store for you are good.”
And Rose opened her eyes and saw – His promises were true.