You’re never too dead for a resurrection… It’s never too late for a new beginning
Out on the beach, angry waves rolled and crashed against the outcropping rocks that stood stalwart against the assault. Charging the sand, they lashed at it, licking savagely but unable to get past the shoreline. Overhead, the dark clouds threatened to burst forth in storm at any moment, sending blustering winds that whistled through the few trees deeper inland and seemed to whip the waves into an increasing frenzy.
Safely out of the weather, Laira stood at the glass window overlooking the beach and stared at the impending storm blandly. It couldn’t compare with the one already raging inside her. Wine glass in hand, she sipped mindlessly and pondered.
For as long as she could remember, she’d loved the beach. As a young girl, her parents had often taken her, along with her older sister, to the beach for vacations. Those times were some of her fondest memories from childhood. So when her modelling career had begun to take off, after the upscale apartment in one of the trendiest neighborhoods in the city, she’d purchased this house. In the past it had been a quiet refuge when she needed a break from her fast-paced, very public life.
Over the years, she had done some remodeling — well, paid an interior designer to do it — and it was now an elegant space, filled with lush furnishings and objets’d’art. Turning from the window, she surveyed the room, still satisfied with the posh surroundings, but today they brought her no comfort. She walked across the room and set her wineglass on a table in front of the couch. From the rack next to it, she picked up a poker and stabbed at the small logs burning briskly in the fireplace. They purred with life.
As she placed the poker back in its rack, she caught a glimpse of her reflection in the mirror over the mantle. Her pale blonde hair, often described as champagne-colored, which she relished, was neatly coiffed, swept as it was into a casual, loose updo. She carefully ignored the hint of gray at the temples; it would require a salon visit soon. Her makeup, even though she had no appointments and hadn’t left the house, was flawless; one never knew when the demand for a video call would arise or someone would drop by. But even the highlighter so carefully applied couldn’t completely camouflage the fine lines that had begun to appear at the corners of her eyes. As she observed them, she quickly turned away.
Her representative at the agency assured her she was still a very beautiful woman but lately, the phone wasn’t ringing as often as it had in the past. When it did, the offers were for more mature skin care or fragrance ads. It was difficult to accept; she had been a supermodel, one highly sought with countless covers to her credit.
With a deep sigh, she picked up her glass and returned to the window. Taking another sip from the glass, she paid no attention to the tear that made its way down her cheek, threatening the perfection of her makeup. Her eyes were fixed on the rolling, crashing waves.
Laira had never given much thought to the future. She had relied heavily on her exceptional beauty most of her life. On a whim, she’d sent some photos to agencies in New York and been pleasantly shocked when almost immediately she’d been signed to one of the best. Her career had taken off quickly, so she’d chosen it over college and maintenance of a runway-ready figure over childbearing. Marriage to a fellow model had dissolved in a battle of impossible schedules and battling egos. She’d been wise enough to assure her financial security, but the competitive nature of the business and her driving need to succeed had made her few friends.
Despite a rigorous preservation ritual, it seemed time had finally caught up with her. While still photographed at fashion events and deferentially greeted by the influential, she felt more like an afterthought, as attention went to younger women whose stars were on the rise.
What’s left? Laira asked herself. She wasn’t old but another career? All she’d ever done was model; it was all she’d ever wanted to do. The idea of being a pathetic has-been was more than she could take. No, she thought, there’s only one viable choice.
Turning again from the window, she smoothed the fabric of the mid-thigh length top she wore over her fitted jeans, drained her glass and set it on the table.
Outside, it had begun to rain. Large drops, the kind that are prelude to a heavy storm, threatened her hair as the wind grabbed at her clothes but she ignored them, and she descended the steps to the beach and started for the water.
Some distance down the beach, in her peripheral view, she noticed a man walking along the shore. It gave her pause, but as far away as he was, she didn’t expect he would even see her. As she started into the water, her mind replayed something her grandmother had often said to her when her career had begun to take off.
“Laira, never forget that God loves you.” The old woman said. “You may not believe it now, but one day, you may find you have need of Him. He loved you so much, He sent His only son to die in your place. Believe on Him and if you call, He will answer.”
That’s strange, Laira thought. To think of that now. Her grandmother had been a kind, gracious old soul and Laira had loved her dearly, but the woman had been dead for years. With her busy, fast-paced life consuming all her attention, she hadn’t thought of her in a long time.
With what she was planning, it seemed another right choice to make, so as she continued into the water, she murmured. “God, I know I haven’t lived the best life. I’ve made so many mistakes. I do believe on you and on your son; please forgive me. If you’re really there, I need you now.”
The current was strong, and she’d wandered deep enough that it pulled at her. The water covered her, and she surrendered to it.
As she opened her eyes, unsure what to expect, Laira was stunned to see the crackling fire. With a gasp at the implication, she bolted upright, only to find, as her eyes focused, that she was surrounded by the comfortable furnishings of her own house.
“Oh, good, you’re awake.” Came a distinctly male, but unfamiliar voice.
Her head snapped around toward the sound.
Tall and broad shouldered, his dark, curly hair was cut short, his keenly intelligent eyes a bright, piercing blue. From his place in a chair across from her, he rose and walked toward the fireplace, took a small log and carefully set it on the grate before grabbing the poker and adjusting its position.
“Who are you?” She demanded with a frown, but not harshly. “What are you doing here?”
“You picked a terrible day for swimming.” He turned toward her with a dazzling smile.
She blushed, embarrassed by the unspoken inference and by what she knew must be her appearance. Instinctively, her hand went to her hair and endeavored to smooth the straggling strands as she tried not to think of the mascara that was surely streamed down her face.
Oddly, he didn’t appear much worse for having pulled her out. His clothes appeared dry, the tight knit white sweater and slim cut jeans like something out of a trendy fashion ad. Casually, he offered. “I made some tea. Would you like some?”
Laira nodded. She would have preferred another glass of wine but somehow didn’t think it was appropriate. Watching as he went toward the kitchen, she felt sure he was the man from the beach, though how he could have reached her in time remained a mystery.
When he returned with two steaming cups, he carefully handed her one and went back to his place in the chair.
“What happened?” Laira asked. “How did I…?”
His gaze met hers, the bright blue seemed to pierce her defenses and reach into her very soul. “I saw you struggling. I came to help you.”
Puzzled, her head tipped to one side and she frowned. What could he possibly mean? But she felt too intimidated to ask.
“What will you do now?” He inquired softly.
Shaking her head, she took a sip of the comforting brew. Her voice small, she replied. “I don’t know. Everything I’ve known… everything I worked for…”
From beside him in the chair, he produced a worn, leather bound book. Setting his cup on the table next to him, he rose and extended it toward her. “I found this while I was looking for a blanket.”
She could see the faded gold lettering engraved on the cover. It was her name and suddenly, she recognized it as the bible her grandmother had given her many years ago. She didn’t realize she even still had it, let alone where she had kept it. In wonder, she stared at him, dumbfounded as she took it. “I didn’t even…”
Once again, he smiled that breathtaking smile. “You called. He answered.”
Drawing a breath deeply, she couldn’t make sense of this. Inside there came an unfamiliar warmth she knew wasn’t the tea and it filled her. She knew immediately that something was different — she felt… peaceful.
“I have to go.” He announced.
Involuntarily, her head shook. “But I don’t know… Everything I’ve done… How…?”
He reached out for the book.
She gave it readily.
Leafing through, he found what he was searching for and turned it so she could see. Pointing to the words, he spoke. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. Old things have passed away and see, all things have become new.”
Her mouth open, she lifted her eyes to meet his. “What does that mean?”
“You confessed your belief in Him and asked for forgiveness. He granted it.”
“You’ve been given another chance. A fresh start. What will you do with it?”
Unsure, she just stared, then spoke what had been on her mind for days. “I’m not a kid anymore.”
Another bright smile. “Moses received a new assignment to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt at 80 years old. Do you really think there’s no hope for you?”
Blank faced, she realized just how shallow her fears had been.
“All the answers you need are in that book. You shall know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” He started toward the door and half-turned. “The choice is yours.”
She sat stunned as she stared at the book. Her mind full of questions, she looked up, but he was gone. Quickly, she jumped up and chased after him. She ran down the steps and looked in every direction, but he was nowhere to be found. Her voice was plaintive. “But I have questions!”
Like a voice on the wind came the reply. “The Gospel of John. Start there.”
The rain had stopped, and a hint of sunshine had appeared on the horizon. Waves were now rolling lazily in to shore and only kissing at the rocks.
Laira calmed herself. She had asked for help and it had come. Surely, if she asked it would come again. Rushing into the house, she opened the book, found the Gospel of John and began to read.