“The Dot”

The Dot

Written by Brittany Holberg, as part of a series of Lenten reflections, “The Mustard Seed”. Click HERE to view the full booklet of her writings.

"The Dot" 1

Not long after I had been arrested, I received a letter from my father. He was in prison and had been for most of my life. When he was not in prison, he spent every moment of his life looking for his next fix of heroin. Although his absence from my life hurt me deeply, he was still my father and the child inside of me longed for his love.


For the longest time I just sat there holding the envelope. My thoughts raced as images played back in my mind of the few memories I had of my father. I wondered what he could possibly have to say to me. There was nothing left of me for him to break. Finally, I tore open the envelope and pulled out the letter it contained. It was thick, several pages covered in large cursive writing on both front and back. I’d never seen my father’s handwriting. Never touched anything he had written and for some reason that alone brought such profound sadness. As I sat there alone in my small cell I separated the pages and one by one I traced the tips of my fingers over the words he had written. Each page was numbered and filled with words I was not ready to read.


On the back of the 14th page, there were no words. Instead I found an outline of my father’s hand. He had traced his hand on the last page of the letter. Carefully, I placed my hand on top of his, each of my fingers pressing into the very space his had touched. If he had ever held my hand I had no memory of it, but right there, in that moment, I was holding his. Suddenly I was compelled to read every word he had written. On the 13th page, he told me to look on the back where he had traced his hand. It wasn’t his hand he wanted me to pay attention to. It was the small dot he had made in the very center of his palm. It was so small I had missed it at first but when I looked again there it was.


His words in reference to this dot are forever etched into my heart. Although written by my father’s hands, a man who had been absent my entire life, they were not his words. They had been spoken by Jesus to his disciples, and now He was using my father to speak them into my heart. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed… nothing would be impossible.”


Everything seemed impossible to me at that point in my life, but no matter what I endured I would remind myself of that little dot. Over the years it gave me strength to step out again and again in faith. I have seen mountains move in my life and in the lives of others. Things I thought impossible were made possible, and it all started with a tiny little dot, representing a mustard seed. When something you are facing seems impossible grab a pen, open your hand, and draw a dot right in the center. It begins there, with faith as small and undeveloped as a mustard seed. The smallest amount of faith has the greatest potential when we trust God’s power to act. Hold onto it and watch what He will do.

Brittany Holberg is an Oblate of the Sisters of the Morning Star. She is a resident on Texas Women’s Death Row.


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