When the Joy Returns

Guest Post by: Ginger Marcinkowski 

487959_418498751521731_275738562_aThe journey of my life has had some deep cuts. I’d fallen victim to my father during my childhood, a man who was supposed to love me. Throughout my life, I carried with me the pain of his incestuous acts as though it were a heavy, well-worn suitcase and oft-times clung to it as though it were my only friend. I pushed others away because I felt sure that if I let someone in, they’d hurt me again. I don’t know if I really ever recognized the power my father still held over me until I wrote my first novel, Run, River Currents, which was released in August of 2012.

Victims find ways to cope with the trauma in their lives. Some choose alcohol, some drugs. Some allow others to use them or put themselves in situations where they will be abused. I used alcohol and laughter for years, thinking no one could see my pain if I cracked jokes or acted foolishly. It wasn’t until I realized that God had been there all along—placing gentle, loving people in and out of my self-made prison to encourage me to believe in something bigger than my pain—that I finally let my past go.

Run, River Currents is fiction, but it is based on true events from my life. Here is a short excerpt of the point where the main character, Emily, lets her lifelong anger go. I do hope it will be an inspiration for others.

(Truncated Passage from Run, River Currents)

Her eyes scanned the river. What am I seeking here? Can anybody hear me? Does anybody care? The tears streamed. She hadn’t cried at her mother’s funeral months earlier, still angry at her mother’s confessions. Just a couple of hours ago, she’d punched her dead father in the face. What am I doing here?

At the edge of the Tobique River, smells of sweet pine and fish mingled. Emily envisioned her grandmother standing near her, the woman’s gentle voice singing a favorite hymn, lifting a soulful prayer to God. Dave Cook was running behind the old Pontiac, desperate to catch his best friend. Reverend Park was still herding the lost down the pathway and into the water, a circle of blooming white mushrooms at the edge of the red clay shore. Miss Cogswell’s angelic face beamed at Emily from the clouds, her kindness still offering Emily comfort. So many people had shared Christ with her in one way or another over the years, appearing and then disappearing like ghosts when their work was done. Was God beckoning to her once again? Or was it the Tobique offering her a final peace?

Emily touched her foot to the water, allowing the coolness of the river to permeate her leather moccasin. She closed her eyes and waited to feel the wariness that had covered her the day Dave Cook had drowned. She stood anchored by nothing more than scriptures and memories. Though the river had sliced a wider swath through the land, it seemed shallower than Emily remembered. Small islands sprouted in the center of the river, the water surging sometimes around but often over the tiny land masses, producing pockets of ripples of water over them. The leafy twigs shooting from the soil trembled in the breeze. She opened her eyes and let them sweep the river. Could she ever believe? Taking a final deep breath, she waded in.

Her legs pushed against the cool current that was fighting her decision. I can’t go on like this. She was no good to anyone, even herself. The water sucked and swirled between her legs, rising around Emily’s hips as she lunged forward. Her arms swung wildly. She was unable to choke back the tears, the cold permeating her body, the stream on her face mixing with the river’s current. The water reached chest high before Emily gave herself over to its surge, pulling her head underwater, then rising and crying, “Dead to sin, Risen with Christ.”

The water accepted her as she dunked again, this time her escaping breath bubbling to the surface as she let the river pull her deeper into the current, her arms and legs floating away from her body listlessly, her eyes squeezing the light from the sky as she let the river suck her in. Run, River Currents. Run away with me. The words pushed through Emily as she floated ever downward, pulled by the Tobique’s current. And then the words suddenly became real: I will never leave you—Just believe.

Emily popped her eyes open and thrashed toward the surface. She felt for footing; she’d floated into a pocket of deep water. Her feet searched for a solid object, her arms thrashing frantically for the sky. Believe. In one final, frenzied grasp for life, she broke through the water and pulled small gasps of air into her burning lungs. She swung her head like a newly bathed dog, sending pebbles of water cascading across the skin of the river. Her arms beat the current toward shore. She scrambled to find her footing near the banks of the river, her feet sinking into the red clay, her arms thrashing to free her body from the grasp of the river.   “Forgive me,” Emily gasped at the sky as she collapsed to the ground. “God, please forgive me. I do believe!”

She lay on the ground sucking in air, her tearful cries releasing her pain, her life. She felt the rigid blackness melt away, really knew for the first time that God had understood all along, knew her pain and darkness. Loved her unconditionally. His Son, Jesus, had paid the price of His life just to prove it. And she believed. Peace covered her like the last of the day’s sun, and there was no more room for the anger Emily had always known.

download (1)About the author: Ginger Marcinkowski spent many summers traveling between her home state of Maine and her grandparents’ home in New Brunswick, Canada. The sweet memories of those summers gave her a love for the deep Canadian forests and the mighty Tobique River—the setting for Run, River Currents. The novel was a semifinalist in the 2012 ACFW Genesis Contest and received an Honorable mention in the 2012 New England Book Festival.

You can find  ”Run, River Currents” on Amazon, and Barnesandnoble.com. You can also connect with Ginger on her Facebook Page.

 
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