You are the light that gives light to the world. A city that is built on a hill cannot be hidden. People do not hide a light under a bowl. They put it on a lampstand, so the light shines for all the people in the house. In the same way, you should be a light for other people.
~ Matthew 14-16
20 years ago, by a surging riverbed a seed of love took root within.Under the Sitka tree, began by writing the ending first and wound around a magnificent Sitka spruce tree, on the central coastline of British Columbia.
Never could I fathom, all that I would endure in order to complete and seek publication.
Over the years, I pressed on towards the goal intertwined with my faith journey.
My daughter, Shayla Rae Dawn and I, shared a passion for both the spoken and written word.
One day, she came to me with a special request. Shayla asked to read a few chapters of my novel, I was working on.
I hesitated, as I wanted everything to be perfect. Therefore, I only gave her the first couple of pages. Afterwards, my daughter came to me with such emotion, I could tell the story line spoke to her soul.
At my desk she leaned over and looking into my eyes, she said:
“Momma, you have to promise me, you will get your book finished and published.”
The intensity was on a deeper level and I replied: “I promise you Shayla, I will.”
Extending her hand towards mine, she curled her pinky finger.
With a smile that melted hearts, she added: “Pinky promise.”
I was overwhelmed with sentiment. Taking my pinky in hers, we locked our fingers together.
As mother and daughter forged a vow, I gazed into her beautiful, blue eyes and pledged my oath to her:
“Pinky promise, babygirl.”Only a few years later - right before Christmas 2011, my beloved daughter and only child, was tragically killed in a car crash.
In my immeasurable grief, I felt I could no longer write. My heart was fractured. Gone was the opportunity of Shayla to read, Under the Sitka Tree. As time carried onward, I would recall the promise I had made. I began to take my pain and use the gift of creativity to rebuild. I became a leader for a season, in a faith- based bereavement course, called GriefShare. It was a chance to offer support to those, whose loved ones have passed away.
Connecting with others, helped me back on my writing journey.
I also discovered the spark that was my daughter~ had originated from me.
Returning to my novel, I found my writer’s voice once again and picked it up with a newfound passion. In taking from moments of my life I saw purpose in releasing my remorse, the good along with the bad, onto the pages.
I learned the beauty in fiction writing; entwining what is real and what is not, into a story where readers will feel a part of it all.
Later this year as I returned to my book, I revisited yet again this magical place I twisted and formed around my characters. In doing so, I discovered the promise I made to Shayla... was unearthed in the forest containing a Sitka spruce tree.
Under the Sitka Tree, is dedicated to Shayla Rae Dawn. An extraordinary young lady, who helped me find my heart light again ✟💛 In order to shine in a way which is reflective of the Creator.“A Promise is a Promise.”
by TL Alton