The wind lightly caressed my face. The smell of fish filled the air around me. My hands wrapped around the railing as I leaned into the salty sea air. The pier was empty. Usually about this time the pier would be filled with fishermen and their children. Their fishing rods would be leaning against the railing; a line would be leading into the ocean, bobbing in the waves. But, tonight the pier was silent. The restaurant that was residing on the pier was dark, silent.
The sky was dark, cloudy. The moon was large, but hidden by the dark clouds. The stars were not shinning, they remained bleak, buried beneath the gloomy, unwelcoming clouds.
I looked out into the ocean. The waves broke gently against the legs of the pier, filling the air with a light rumble.
I’ve got to do it. I thought to myself.
The sea was calm, except for the light crashing below.
My mind filled with thoughts; thoughts of the darkness in my heart, thoughts of the future, which I would no longer be part of.
I’ve got to do it. I told myself.
Looking into the dark, free flowing ocean, I organized my final thoughts.
I’m going to do this.
My hands grew tight on the railing. My feet stepped up on the bar, right below the top railing.
Loosening my grip, I stood up straight. I felt freedom. All of the trouble of the last few days were lifted off of my chest, being caught by the light breeze and lifted away into the night sky.
I looked down at the sea below. It seemed so peaceful, tranquil, and relaxing. I was ready. As I looked into the peacefulness of the waves, I thought of my family; which would never be whole again. Earlier this week we had experienced a loss: my father, the man who taught me all I knew. The man who risked his life for me and raised me the best he could. Now that he was gone, I was gone. I would never be the same again.
I couldn’t live without him.
I then thought of my friends, the people who allowed me to grow and learn through their guidance and advice. The people who ensured me that all would be al right, but I know better; things will only get worse. Throughout the next few days I had been pulled apart by these two powers, unsure where I would end up. Now I was here.
I’ve got to do this.
The wind blew lightly against my skin. I closed my eyes, causing a tear to streak down my cheek. I stretched my arms out from my sides, feeling the breeze brush through my fingers.
I am ready.
With a final thought of those I loved, I prepared myself and jumped into the silent night.
The wind lightly caressed my face. The smell of fish brought me back into reality. I opened my soggy, puffy eyes to see that I was leaning against the top rail, my feet firmly planted on the pavement. The waves below broke calmly against the pillars of the pier, playing like relaxing music in my head.
The pier was filled with eager fishermen and their children. Their fishing line’s draped into the waves of the ocean. I heard the ruckus from the busy restaurant behind me.
I took another look into the night sky through my blurry eyes. “Dad,” I whispered. “I love you and I’m sorry.” I stepped up to the middle rail, straightening my back out.
My eyes filled with tears, my heart filled with pain. The pain ran through my veins, numbing my body and all my limbs. The breezy air brushed against my body, freeing my mind. “We will soon be reunited. I will be freed.”
I began to feel small. My mind was filled with thoughts, thoughts of the darkness in my heart; thoughts of the future, the future that I would no longer be part of. In the sky I saw the twinkling of a single star above. I was alone. All the sound around me disappeared, leaving me alone on the pier.
Preparing myself for the jump I thought about the freedom I would soon feel being once again reunited with my father. I looked down into the dark ocean. It was completely peaceful.
“I will soon be at peace.” I closed my eyes. “I love you, Dad.” I thought aloud leaning forward, preparing to leap.
With a swift motion, the palm of a rough hand landed on my right shoulder distracting me. I didn’t open my eyes for fear that I would start to cry again.
“They need you.” A husky male voice said from behind. “You are the man now.”
I opened my eyes, but did not turn toward the voice.
In a whisper the voice said, “Take care of them. I love you, Dean.”
Dean? That’s my middle name: Christopher Dean Walton. Most people called me Chris, but my father called me Dean. He always told me that Dean was his Father’s name. As a child he never really knew who his father was because his parents split right after his birth. But when he finally did meet his father at the age of twenty-one, they became the best of friends, starting a wonderful relationship. It was then that he realized the importance of family. And it was then that he vowed that he would never neglect his family.
“Dad,” I said, turning toward the voice. No one was there. Only the fishermen and their children, who had not even realized I was there.
They need you. Those words stuck in my head. My family: my brother, my sister, and my mother. How could I let them down? Is this how I honor my father, by neglecting the only family I have?
I stepped down from the railing, wiping the remaining tears from my eyes and glanced at the sky. Among the horizon, small beams of light began to shine through the dark atmosphere, lighting up the sky for another day.
With another look into the ever changing sky I said, “I love you, Dad.”
The hallway was narrow and aligned with small mailboxes along the walls. Each mailbox was fixed with a locking mechanism that locked and prevented access to the mail within. I neared the end of the hallway, in search of my mailbox. When I located the proper compartment, I peered into the tiny Plexiglas window at the face of the mailbox.
“Hmm, I’ve got a letter.” I said to myself under my breath. Kneeling before my mailbox, I turned the dial, entering the proper combination to unlock the mailbox. With the rectangular envelope within my hand, I read the return address on the left top corner of the envelope. “It’s from my sister. I’ve been waiting for this letter.”
I pocketed the letter and headed out of the campus post office, which was nestled beneath the campus bookstore. The weather was cool and breezy. The leaves were changing to reds, oranges, and yellows, creating a blanket of color across the courtyard.
I instantly headed to my dorm room across campus. I found my way up to my room. A small living area filled with two desks, a couch, and a TV that stood on a top of a dresser. Entering the front door of the dorm room, I sat at my desk and peeled the envelope from my pocket. The envelope was decorated with a pencil stencil of a creative cross spread across the front. In the center of the hand-drawn cross was a small heart. As my eye analyzed the off-centered cross, I noticed the letter “I” above the small heart and the letter “U” underneath the heart, spelling the phrase, “I love you.”
I shredded the envelope open, pulling the letter from the disregarded pieces. I unfolded the pages, and I began skimming through the contents of the letter. My sister and I have been sending letters back and forth ever since she was incarcerated. I couldn’t wait to read the contents of this letter.
I could never understand what she was going through, yet, I felt I could offer her some light in these dark times.
So, I began to write her every two to three months, sharing the Gospel and the hope that lies within it and in return she would send me a letter expressing gratitude for my kind words and sharing life with me. With every letter that I sent her I spoke about life and life in Christ. I shared scripture that would offer her hope. I just wanted to see my sister understand the hope that I have learned to love over the years.
“First I’d like to tell you that your letter brought me so much joy. I hadn’t gotten mail in about 2 and half weeks and to get a letter from you made me feel so loved. Your letter brought tears to my lovely blue eyes that had been gray for days. When I’m down my eyes turn gray and since I got your letters the girls say my eyes are so bright.”
I read my sister’s words in my head, yet I mouthed the words quietly. I couldn’t believe how much joy I received from this letter. I am very thankful that I was able to share these words with her.
“Tony, this jail time has opened my eyes and my heart to a new way of life and I am looking forward to it. Tony, I carry your letter with my Bible and I have read it at least a dozen times since I got it yesterday.”
At the bottom of the second page, I noticed a scripture hand-printed:
“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.”
I read and reread the letter until a sense of peace was nestled within my heart. I lay down the letter upon my desk, and leaned back in my chair, thinking. Within minutes, my mind was roaming with new thoughts to share. I quickly grabbed my Bible and a new sheet of paper and prepared to write.
As I wrote every letter, I thought of her sitting in a lonely cell, gripping the letter that I sent to her. I imagined that every word that she read filled her with a reminder of love and grace, giving her something to look forward to.
As I crafted my newest letter, I continued to refer to the letter that I had just received. I read it and reread it, ensuring my understanding of what she was saying and the meaning behind it. I always looked at the verses that she sent me, knowing that she was finding light in them.
“My purpose behind sending you the verses, was basically because I want you to see I’m not just saying that I’m reading God’s word but that I really am!” my sister wrote in her next letter to me , which arrived a few weeks later.
Her letter consisted of two other verses; Philippians 4:6-7 and Colossians 1:9
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
“So, we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of His will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding.”
My sister’s second letter was much shorter than the first, yet it was still touching. My sister’s words were heartfelt and personal. I knew that she was still in the darkness, yet I believe she is finding peace in those times.
After reading her letter, I pulled out a pile of paper and a pen. I began writing. The words poured from my mind and formed sentences that lifted up hope in Christ. The words were filled with life, looking to give hope to a person who was downtrodden and broken hearted. Yet, I soon realized that my sister was not the only one who would grow from this experience. I would…….
“God, thank you for this opportunity to speak hope to my sister; I pray that You would be with her during this difficult time. I ask that you strengthen her daily, giving her the strength she needs to face this time. I pray that the words that You give me would encourage her and bring her closer to you. I pray all of this in Your name, Amen.” I spoke aloud, leaning forward in my desk chair with my hands folded together.
I finished the letter with a kind word of love and plopped the pen atop of the desk. I folded the pages of the letter into a tri-fold and prepped it for the mail. I pocketed the newly written letter and headed back down to the campus post office.
I can’t believe I get the opportunity to share the gospel with my sister. I can’t believe I get the opportunity to share the gospel with anybody. This feels really good and I know that I am making a difference. I thought to myself as I walked through the campus pathways towards the campus post office. I fought through the muffled existence of self-doubt. In times like these, I am often plagued with a variety of questions: Am I sure I should be so upfront about my faith? Is my sister appreciative or grateful for my message of hope? Do I truly believe in everything that I am telling her? How does sharing the Gospel truly change her life?
With the letter stuffed into my pants pocket, I thought through the series of questions. The truth was: I don’t know all of the answers. All I knew was that God has changed me; God has seen the brokenness that harasses my family, yet He has made me whole. God knows my heart, yet He loves me relentlessly, allowing me to love myself. God has taken a child who was bit with silence, and yet God has given him the privilege to speak.
I decided one thing: If my sister does not accept Christ before she is released, I can at least hold my head high knowing that I fought through my self-doubt and followed God’s will. I also decided that I would not be ashamed of the gospel of Christ in my life. I will continue to share the gospel in any way that I can, regardless of who appreciates it or understands my reasoning.
I released the envelope from my pocket and looked down at it. My heart thumped in my chest, my nerves spiked. I wasn’t being fueled with fear or anxiety; I was collecting my valor and decided to walk a path of strength and courage.
I handed my envelope to the post office employee as he ensured that the envelope was stamped with the correct information and pointed to the mail slot that it would be dispensed into. I slid the envelope into the mail slot, never to be seen again.
My job was finished, the rest relied on God.
Anthony K. Giesick
I grew up loving stories and quickly found myself loving writing poetry, stories, songs! Here is a sample of what Beautiful Feet Writings is all about!.