A Hand on My ShoulderMature


I watched as a myriad of emotions overwhelmed Dakota. How dare Mom say something like that? How dare she imply that I'm more valuable than him? 

"Mom!" I shot out before I could stop myself. "Just shut up!"

The disrespect was so uncommon that Mom stood there for a moment, dazed. Then, she swore at me and declared in no small amount of profanity that I was just as useless as Dakota. The words hurt, far more than I would've thought. Because despite the fact that I held no respect for Mom, she was...well, she was my mom. I guess it was in my blood to have some sort of need for her approval.

My dad and Melissa said nothing during the entire exchange, and I felt betrayed. If they cared about me like they claimed they did, then why weren't they coming to my aid?

Helpless, I tried to meet Dad's eyes, but he kept them averted.

And then, anger overwhelmed me. It was all I could do not to keep from yelling at my family, asking why I had to bear this burden on my own. I wanted to scream and demand that someone help me instead of leaving the family peacekeeping in my hands alone.

I was vaguely aware of the fact that Mom was ushered out of the room, and I could see Melissa stand awkwardly before offering to drive her home. Dad shrugged, as though unable to think straight because of the craziness going down. Melissa left, leaving Dad, Dakota, and me all alone. Of course, the nurse was there, too, but she didn't really count.

There was a long silence.

I rushed over to Dakota's hospital bed. I could tell he didn't want me around, so I just sat there, stressing over what I could do to make him feel better. Finally, despite the fact that I could hear conversations buzzing around me, I laid my head down on the hospital bed and willed myself to pass out.

Unfortunately, no matter how much I begged God to let me faint or even die, I remained conscious. Granted, I couldn't tell what was going on around me, except for the fact that Dakota still wasn't responding to my presence.

Oh, how I wanted to get up and march out of that oppressive hospital room...

But I didn't. I'd already run from my problems often enough. This time, I would stay with Dakota. I owed it to him. I owed it to everyone. I wouldn't run from responsibility. As I lay my head there, eyes closed tightly, I could feel God's comforting  presence near me. I might struggle with loneliness, but God had never left me, not even for a moment.

Not caring who heard, I whispered into the air, "I'm counting on You to stay with me, Jesus." 

It was then that I felt someone's hand on my shoulder. Surprised, I sat up, but nobody had touched me. Yet I still felt a hand on my shoulder, even though Dakota and everyone else had refrained from nearing me. I was chilled and comforted as I realized that the hand on my shoulder was not someone, but Someone. Tears falling, I lay my head back down and rested. 

I was so weary. So weary of fighting. Now, I would rest and let my Savior fight for me.

The End

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