Waking up under a hazy blanket of sleep deprivation, the cold temperature of the room nipped at the freckles speckled and splattered on the girl’s cheeks.

As a delicate ruffled comforter, her only protection from the cold, was pushed aside, the black cat in the bed chirped a good morning and hopped on the girl’s lap, trilling for undivided attention.

Taking care to not disturb the feline, the girl slid slowly to the edge of the bed, reaching for a thin black notebook and a small hand-bound leather book resting on the antique nightstand her father found years ago on the side of a country road.

With both items in hand, the girl gingerly placed her feet and the cat on a cold wooden floor. She began to make her way to the electric heater on the opposite side of the room while carefully and sluggishly navigating around the small paws pattering under her feet.

With heavy limbs stiffened by the cold, she bent down to place her book and journal in front of the heater, retrieved an ink pen, then sat down in the frigid atmosphere, wiped the lack of sleep from her eyes, and began to read.

The previous night had been spent sowing seeds of disappointment, catering to negative feelings, and tending to ill-minded thoughts. Although she knew she was called to freedom, for the past couple of months, she’d only felt like a prisoner.

Resting in feelings of betrayal, she had found comfort in the coldness and loneliness of autumn, and, at the start of this new and even chillier season, she had begun to push away any well-intentioned helping hands, mistakenly labeling her actions as “self-preserving” and “wise.”

Having felt betrayed months ago by someone she had previously held dear, her willingness to be open and vulnerable with others had only decreased along with the temperatures. But, despite starting off on the wrong foot, the new season could still provide the girl with an opportunity to change.

Her eyes spoke experience and her demeanor was subtle as she wrote a single sentence between two pale blue lines:

I am not shackled by chains of bitterness.”

Closing the notebook, she placed the cat in her lap and leaned forward — with the flick of her finger, the heater vibrated to life, emitting a comforting warmth as the previously stone-grey tubes of the device became a responsive vibrant orange.

And in that moment, the heater’s rattling harmonized with a cat’s purring and the clank of chains falling, composing a rose-tinted hallelujah which resonated between the white-washed walls of morning.



You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.” Galatians 5:13-15


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