“The Thief on the Cross” [guest post]
With more than 190,000 books in print, former writing student, long-term friend, and award-winning author of Wholesome Books for Kids, Susan K. Marlow is one of the best writers I have ever had the privilege of instructing.
Her newest post on her popular ANDI’S BLOG, copied with her permission, shows why. It is an excellent example of how deeply a dedicated writer’s work can affect others. This morning’s entry left me in tears and I had to share it with all of you.
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You can see more Peek Behind the Curtain posts in Andi’s Attic >>
Jed Hatton [an old outlaw who has shown up more than once in previous titles] returns to see Andi in “Specter from the Past,” a short story in the new Circle C Milestones book 6, Stranger in the Glade: And More Tales from Memory Creek Ranch.
This peek behind the curtain gives you a look at why I wrote what I did when Jed is about to die. He has endured much abuse at the hands of Mateo Vega [a really bad outlaw] in order to save Andi and baby Jared. He makes his final speech as he’s dying. [scene excerpt follows]
“I’m tired of runnin’ from the law.” Jed sucked in another agonizing breath. “Tired of runnin’ from God.” He patted her arm. “I told Him so too.”
Andi sat still, daring to hope. What was Jed saying?
“Can I ask you somethin’ . . . little lady?” Talking was becoming more difficult. For sure, Jed’s ribs were broken. His voice fell to a labored whisper.
“Ask me anything.” Andi leaned her ear close to his lips to catch his next words.
“Will that Christ you’re always prayin’ to remember me if I ask Him? I got a hankerin’ to see them . . . golden streets.”
Andi held Jed’s hand. “The thief on the cross asked the same thing, ‘Remember me,’ and Jesus said, ‘Today you will be with me in Paradise.’”
Jed let out a slow breath. “That’s what I want. Will you help me ask Him?”
I wanted Jed to figure out his wrong ways and find Christ, and I also wanted to make use of a favorite hymn of mine, “Are Ye Able?” I was able to use both ideas in Jed’s “death” scene. But I was not able to use the song itself in the book, like I’ve used other songs. Why not? Because the song wasn’t written until 1926, and this story is set in 1887. Too bad!
The first verse of this old hymn goes like this: “Are ye able,” said the Master, “to be crucified with me?” “Yea,” the sturdy dreamers answered, “To the death we follow Thee!” (but they ran away). The second verse always touches me, so I created a video to go with verse two and the chorus.
Now, you know a little “peek” at how this small but important plot event came to be.
Special Note from Colleen: This scene would not have been believable if Jed hadn’t shown he wasn’t completely bad by risking his life to save Andi and her baby. Thank you, Susan, for giving Jed the same hope the thief on the cross had when he confessed his sins and cried out for Jesus to remember him. Andi will never forget.