And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose Romans 8:28
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Heb. 12:2
In 2010 Jeff and I took a road trip. Jeff drove me to the upper peninsula of Michigan to see where my biological father lived. We planned this trip after I had finally located him and found out that he had died in 2007, three years prior. The local newspaper where he lived said very little about him. We searched for his marker through the only cemetery in the tiny eye blink town in the middle of nowhere. We were not successful.
Just like the old farmhouse that was listed as his last place of residence...this turned out to be another dead end road. On the way back home afterwards, we decided to pay a surprise visit to my brother who lived along the way, and arranged for my sister to meet up with us at his house.
We had a nice visit and I was able to see my niece whom I had not seen since she was really little. She was staying with my brother while her husband was stationed in the middle east.
When I told my siblings about the road trip and the purpose for it, my brother asked why didn't I just walk up to the door to see who lived at my biological father's house...maybe they were relatives that I could meet. I told him that he just would not understand about how once a parent rejects you, you do not put yourself in a situation where you will likely be rejected again. Or worse...blamed for the sins of others.
Mama always said "never air your dirty laundry", and I never did. But there comes a time when the laundry has piled up, and it's time to take it out and sort through it in order to wash it. And sometimes we come across a piece of clothing with an ugly stain that needs some extra care in pre-treating it before being placed into the washer.
Sometimes we need to reach into our own heart and take out the pain that is in there...handle it, look at it, and then let the Lord cleanse out those stained and tattered pieces that make up the fabric of our lives.
Eventually we will have a quilt sewn together to hang up and display for all the world to see.
"To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified." Isaiah 61:3.
Everyone has a story. My mother's story may never be fully told because she preferred to keep it hidden, giving me only bits and pieces throughout my life. She died in 2000, so all I have left is the bits and pieces to put together now. Out of respect for her I will not go into too many details. But I too have a story to tell, and I have decided to do so. I apologise to you mama for uncovering these details of my life, and I am sorry if this means your story will be partially told through the telling of mine.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. Psalm 139:13
She walked up the cement steps leading to the main entrance of the hospital. He had dropped her off in front of the entrance, and would wait for her in the parking lot until it was done. She placed her trembling hand on the handle of the large glass door, but as she began to pull the door open, something seemed to be pulling and holding it shut from the other side. She could not manage the strength to enter in through the heavy door...she had never felt this small and weak, not even when she had found out that her husband was leaving her for another woman a year ago and that she would be raising her 3 children alone with only the help of her mama and the occasional support check from the father of her three young children. She felt that she had no other choices when the man she thought was the one true love of her life had told her to get rid of it when she told him she was pregnant, but she just could not go through that door, something was preventing her from doing so!
She knew that as soon as she turned around and walked back to the man waiting in the car, there would be a good chance that she would be raising all four children alone now without his help either. How would she manage to keep her cleaning job at the Elk's lodge now? It was hard enough to do so with a fifteen year old, ten year old and five year old to take care of...Thank God for her Mama...And now there will be a newborn to take care of as well.
She stopped to take a moment to light a cigarette to calm her nerves before she walked to the parking lot. She considered staying inside the hospital long enough to convince the man that she had gone through with it...but she honestly could not make herself go inside. Maybe it was fear of changing her mind, or maybe it was just that her nerves would not allow her to stand under such a heavy burden. She dropped the cigarette on the sidewalk, stomped it out with her foot and walked on shaking legs toward the man waiting in the car.
He looked at her standing at the passenger door, and she would never forget the look of disappointment on his handsome face, nor would she forget the last thing he said to her before dropping her off at her front porch...He said that he was married, and that his wife could never find out about this. "I already have two children of my own...you will not ruin my family or do anything to hurt them!" And then he sped away.
1965 ...and beyond:
The nurse behind the desk looked up in time to see a very tall, handsome man walking toward her...My, but didn't he look just like that actor, on TV...Lee majors! She smiled as he approached her. He was asking about one of the babies born last night...She was about to tell him that she could not answer any questions when an old woman walked up to the man. The lady was under five feet tall, and it was nearly comical to see her walk right up to the man who stood more than six feet tall and demand to know just exactly what he wanted there. The nurse tried to focus on her paperwork instead of listening to the odd exchange playing out before her, but she just could not help but hear the man's shaky reply as he said he just wanted to know if she had had 'it' yet. The old woman pierced her lips together and looked up at the handsome man and answered that yes she did, and why do you care?
He asked if it was a boy or a girl, and when the woman replied that it was a girl. She watched the man pivot and walk away, but not before she had caught the look of disappointment on his face.
The baby was reluctant to leave the safety of her mother's womb. The doctor had to use the forceps in order to force the infant out into the world. The child was underweight, and not too eager to take that first breath..Little did anyone know, but she would be holding her breath for much of her life...and would remain hidden away in a corner or in a room behind a closed door hesitant to come out into the world.
The little girl was born with weak lungs and was always coughing and struggling for breath from the effects of second hand smoke. She was always sick, and weaker than most other kids her age. Her Mama said it was because she had her so late in life. She was born bald and her head was oddly shaped because of the forceps, but that was easy enough to hide once her hair came in.
Mama took her to the doctor several times because she just did not seem to be gaining any weight and was disturbingly thin. She needed braces on her feet in order to correct her crooked legs that turned in making her very clumsy. The special shoes that she had to wear were very heavy and uncomfortable on her narrow little feet, and she hated them.
When the little girl was one year old, her sixteen year old brother was involved in a serious car accident. He was the lone survivor. The other four teen aged boys as well as the family in the other car were all killed. The impact was so hard that her brother's ID bracelet would later be found draped over the power line over the intersection where the driver of the car that he was in had ran the stop sign as he was taking a drink from the last remaining bottle of beer from the party they had attended the previous night. It was early on a Sunday morning, and the family in the other car were on their way to church.
Her Mama was very busy working all the time, and her Grandma was the main caretaker of the four children. When her big brother finally left the hospital where he had been in a coma for several weeks, she was happy to see him, even though he did not look the same anymore...She still knew that that was her brother and that she loved him and wanted to climb up on his lap while he sat in his wheelchair on the front porch.
Now almost three years later, her brother was no longer in the wheelchair. She loved the rare times when he would come home for a few days. She felt so grown up when he let her come into his room and listen to his records with him. She adored her big brother, although he was sometimes kind of scary to be around since the accident which left him brain damaged, but only when it came to his temper...which you could never predict when or why he would lose it. The shoe print on the staircase where he had narrowly missed hitting their sister was her reminder that she had better always be a good girl around him. So she watched her handsome brother whom everyone thought looked like Elvis Presley as he sang along with the record playing and he was laughing with her.
I never doubted that my mother loved me. She did the best with what she had. Mom did not become a Christian until late in life. She lived a life without much hope, without knowing true peace and joy and the love that only God can give...So what she was able to give from herself to her children came from her own brokenness and from her own strength. She is with Jesus now, and I delight in knowing that she is finally at peace and experiencing true love and joy for all of eternity...and when I see her again I will thank her for being my Mama and giving up so much for me while here on earth.
On Her Father's Lap...1968
*(Remember this one when you read the very ending of my stories!)*
The baby girl climbed upon the fathers lap as the three older children all rallied for his attention. Caught up in all the excitement of her siblings, baby girl smiled and looked up into the face of the big man who seemed to be larger than life itself!
She scrambled up his long legs, placing her feet atop his for leverage, her white lacy anklets contrasting against his big scuffed work boots. She managed to reach her destination without any assistance from him. She settled her skinny little body, while grabbing hold of his big rough hand and holding it in her small soft one.
She watched quietly as her brothers and sister all opened their gifts. She did not cry or complain when she did not receive one from the father. She just accepted that she had been a bad girl, and she did not deserve a gift like the others...Her handsome and talented oldest brother, with whom she loved to sit and listen to music, her pretty older sister whose long wavy hair she loved to hide underneath because she did not want her mother to see her tears when she had to leave her to go to work, and then there was her fun-loving brother who was closer to her than the other two...He had often warned her about being a big baby and crying too often. She had not been a good girl because she could not always hide her tears. But she would not cry now. Instead she climbed down and ran into the soft and loving embrace of her grandma.
She did not have to climb up into grandma's lap, as she was lifted up into the big rocking chair. She felt wanted there, as soft arms quickly encircled her small four year old frame, her grandma whispered sweet things into her tiny ear. The tears now released, were absorbed into the paisley fabric of grandma's dress and into the loving heart beating just beneath. Her own memories of childhood pain came flooding back into her mind as she resolved to hold onto the child and make it all better for as long as the Good Lord would allow her to do so. She knew that her daughter's ex husband visited his children whenever he felt like it, but to practically ignore this child just because she was not his was inexcusable
The baby girl had really tried hard not to cry. She could be a good girl. After all, she did not even cry when she had spilled the hot coffee onto her chest that day when Mama and Grandma were downstairs in the basement doing the laundry. She even managed to scoot down the scary old wooden stairs on her rear-end in order to get to them; and she did not cry when the nurse had slipped her undershirt over her head pulling with it the tender boiled skin...and the doctor even told Mama how brave she was for not crying when he rubbed that purple stuff on her chest. She remembered feeling calm when she looked down at the cool gel covering her burn...It was her favorite shade of light purple.
But she could not stop the dreadful tears from spilling out now, so she would try her best to hide her face from her family...only Grandma could know...Grandma would not become angry like her oldest brother, and she would not make fun of her like her other brother, or ignore her the way her sister did. No, Grandma would hold her, rocking gently, while softly humming a slow tune until she finally fell asleep.
The Lady in Yellow:...1969
Her little legs worked hard to pump the peddles on the red trike.
She was trying her best to keep up with the Lady
The lady walked very briskly beside her talking all the while, her bright yellow skirt seemed to reflect the summer sun as her white pumps glided effortlesssly across the gray pavement. She was speaking about things that the child could understand, things that would keep her attention away from the sound of the big cars and the squeaking of brakes and whir of their tires as they passed in front and behind . Little legs moving, head bent over the handlebars, bright yellow fabric blocking out the city street, and a melodious voice talking about things that she could understand.
She was delighted to talk with the lady, no adult ever seemed this interested in her four year old jibber jabber, not even grandma, who loved to hold and rock her while singing and humming softly into her ear.
So entranced in her conversation with the lady she barely noticed that they had reached the sidewalk. the toddler awkwardly dismounted the trike as it swiftly disappeared up into the grasp of the lady...she looked up then, as she placed her little hand trustingly into the bigger hand, she had never seen such a pretty lady before...not even her mama with her skin of ivory and raven black hair, could compare with the beauty of the alabaster skinned lady, with hair that sat high upon her head in keeping with the 'beehive' style of the day. Her hair looked like the golden white hair of the angel that sat upon the tree at Christmas time!
They continued hand in hand down the city sidewalk as the lady asked, just like she had along the last block, if this was the house?"No," would come the reply as they stopped at each one. Until of course they came to the yellow house with large white trimmed windows, this house was bigger than most of the rest. White concrete stairs nestled between two white banisters lead up to white painted floorboards that belonged to a long covered porch that any little girl could appreciate spending many hours of play on. She imagined even now, sitting amidst her dolls and their scattered clothing, while she brushed their hair and sang to them.
"Alright then", if you are sure this is the house." said the lady in her sing-song voice, as she approached the white framed glass door with it's shiny brass house numbers that hung just above,
But as the lady pressed the doorbell and the chimes rang and echoed within; the little girl cupped her hands and placing her forehead on them, looked through the window to the foyer just beyond. The house was beautiful both inside and out. She noted the hanging geranium much like the one her grandma also kept hanging from the porch. Suddenly, the little girl felt embarrassed and ashamed, she had lied to the beautiful lady! This was not her house at all. With her childish imagination she just wanted to believe, if even for a moment, that it was.
The lady seemed to understand how the little girl felt, and the little girl was relieved to know that the lady was not angry with her for deceiving...only disappointed. And although the lady seemed to have known that it was not the house all along, she still bothered to play along with the child, as though she knew she would feel ashamed at the deception, and end up telling her the truth very quickly. The crest-fallen look upon the child's face made the lady's heart melt. It was good that the child felt so badly about lying. She also understood the nature of the human spirit, even at that young age.
They continued hand in hand along the city block and crossed another street. This street was much narrower and shaded compared to the last one. The little girl knew it was still much different than the street she lived on with it's uneven sidewalks broken apart by the roots of the big trees over the years, and the dirty yards where grass would not grow because of the darkness from the old trees. The two story wooden houses on her block were also much older than these modern bungalows along this street. The porches here had nicely manicured shrubbery in front of them, with flower boxes neatly hung from or sitting atop of glistening painted porch railings, not anything like the houses with their crooked porches and paint chipping from weathered railings and banisters where she lived with her Mama and Grandma, and three half siblings. No, these did not look anything like the house that she lived in.
As they neared the end of the block, the shade gave way to the hot pavement of the sun-brightened sidewalks; and the lady once again sat the little red tricycle down for the little girl to sit upon. But just as the toddler placed her foot on the peddle a big black and white police car quickly pulled over close to the curb. The car barely stopped before the door swung open and Mama leaped out of the car. Mama was speaking very fast, the little girl could barely understand a word as she focused her eyes on the big policeman who sat in the drivers seat. She could understand that she was in trouble as she could not seem to tear her eyes from the gun that sat holstered at the officer's side. A gun just like the one she saw when the police had to be called when their German Shepherd went crazy with the distemper and kept growling at everyone outside on the sidewalk in front of their porch one day. Grandma made her stay inside with her and held her trembling body close as she rocked and whispered Shh..shh..into the child's ear as the loud popping sound filled her senses making her so afraid!
Mama scooped her up and gently placed her upon her lap in the passenger's seat of the police car while the officer with the gun holstered to his hip put the tricycle in the trunk of the car. It was only then that the little girl remembered the lady in yellow, but as she turned with her little finger pointing towards the busy intersection where she had last stood, there was no lady standing there. Fixing her eyes on the sunny sidewalk that was slowly becoming more distant, the child was sure she had caught one last glimpse of the beautiful lady with her beehive hairdo and bright yellow dress waving goodbye to her as the policeman continued to drive away.
Tired from the day's adventure, the little girl soon fell asleep and was not even aware when the officer parked the police car in front of the old two story gray shingled house with it's crooked porch where a single geranium hung.
In front of the house on 9th street, a group of concerned neighbors and family members gathered. They had all been looking throughout the city neighborhood for the little girl who had vanished from the fenced yard when a neighbor child had left it unlocked to run home next door when her mother called her for lunch.
Imagine their reaction when they all learned that the child had managed (somehow) to cross 10th Avenue, the busiest city street and was found several blocks over, and about to cross yet another very busy street.
Tiny Dancer: 1973
The sound of the orchestra played in the background as the little girl lept through the air , long legs stretched out as her loose hair followed behind her. She landed softly on the patterned carpeting of the dining room, and swept low with a graceful outstretch of her arms ending with a curtsy, head bowed with skirt held out at either end. Her audience clapped and sang out with a loud expression of joy.
"More Gramma?" the little ballerina asked as the orchestra began playing the next song, another instrumental number, on the Lawrence Welk show which grandma loved to watch nightly on her black and white console television set.
"Oh yes, I would love that!" answered Grandma. The ballerina once again felt the stir of the music propelling her into the air as she ran and spun back and forth between the large living room and dining room of the old Victorian where her Grandmother rented the lower level apartment. The ebb and flow of the music rang out from the brass and wood instruments filling her young body with a graceful energy that she did not seem to possess at any other time. At eight years old, she was tall and skinny, with bony knees and elbows. The little girl was often teased by the other children. She knew that they could never understand or accept her. She knew that she was different from the other children, and not only in her appearance.
Around and around the music carried her, she could feel it's energy! She was just about to take her dramatic bow when the music was suddenly interrupted by a loud banging at the apartment door. The girl stopped abruptly and stared at her grandmother who called out: "Who's there?"When the voice of the man answered, the child went a shade paler and seemed to send a silent plea to the grandmother who quickly placed a finger up to her own lips indicating for the child to remain quiet.
The little girl watched as her grandmother moved the TV tray aside and began to rise from her rocker while she replied: "Just a minute!" She glanced for just a moment at the startled child who seemed to have turned to stone while she stood there in her pink tights with the lace tablecloth tied around her waste.
The child's costume was completed with one of the silk scarves she had received from a friend she played 'Bingo' with years ago, covering the bottom half of her granddaughter's small pale face. The scarf made the girl's cat green eyes stand out. Those eyes were such a strange shade, much similar to her own hazel ones, yet different somehow.
The silent plea was hard to mistake as she looked into the child's wide eyes, Grandma just simply nodded, and the child darted off toward the bedroom at the back of the apartment. Once the grandmother heard the bedroom door close softly, she unlocked the front door and invited the man and woman inside...
Safely behind the closed door, she held her breath trying very hard to suppress one of her dry coughs...She was always coughing. She placed her hand over her mouth when she heard the footsteps approaching the bedroom.
She could hear her Grandma talking with her cousin in the front room so she knew it must be her cousin's husband in the hallway outside the door. That familiar tickle in her throat threatened to betray her silence and before she could stop it she started coughing uncontrollably now.
The man walked into the bedroom his tall frame filling up the doorway. Greasy blond hair hung in his eyes and he was sweaty. The little girl instinctively backed away. He smelled of something that she found detestable, and there was something in his eyes that unsettled her even more than his sour stench. He stepped forward and picked her up and held her over his head so that she was forced to look down at him, forced to hold her breath lest she gag. Her legs dangled down helplessly beneath her...She was tempted to kick him, but she would never deliberately hurt anybody, especially a grown up.
Just then her Grandma walked into the room along with her cousin. The man shook her playfully and started to laugh and say something about how big his little cousin had grown.
Grandma reached out for the child and bid the man and his wife goodbye, thanking them for stopping by for a visit. As he handed her to her Grandma, the man smiled and said it was a shame for such a pretty little thing to be hid away, and that he only wanted to say hi.
When they left, the little girl promptly ran into the bathroom and proceeded to wash under her arms where he had grabbed her and then she began scrubbing her face trying to wash away the smell of him. She ran a washcloth over her eyes as if to erase all memory of the sight of him standing there beneath her with those terrible bloodshot eyes and sweaty brow as he smiled up at her with an evil grin.
This was only the second time she had encountered her cousin's husband, and something inside her had sprung into action that first time propelling her to run away from him then too....It would not be revealed to her until several years later when she was a grown woman with children of her own that that man's photograph was pinned up on a wall at a local women's shelter: he had been molesting area children, and had even raped his own daughters for many years, and was now wanted by the police.
But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. (1 Cor. 12)
She was lying on the floor on her belly with her legs bent up behind her reading the teen magazine. The young girl was not yet a teenager, but she was wanting so badly to fit in with her friends in the trailer park. The same friends who would not admit to knowing her while at the junior highschool where they attended, but would invite her over to their houses after school or on the weekends when they needed someone to practice a new haircut or something on.
One time, her best friend Cindy joined the other kids teasing her on the bus. When the bus dropped off the kids at the catholic school and then the older kids at the highschool, it seemed like an eternity before the brakes squeeked and the bus came to a halt in front of the Junior high school.
She was the first one off the bus and had to restrain herself from running as soon as her feet hit the sidewalk. Instead she walked briskly holding her stack of books up high obscuring most of her face as she bent her face so that her chin sat against her collarbone. She always carried such a huge stack of books as she was always missing so much school, and had to work very hard to catch up when she returned from whatever illness kept her homebound. Usually it was Bronchitis...The doctor had warned her mother that she just simply could not smoke around her anymore. The young girl tried not to think about how her mother smoked her cigarette on the car ride home. didn't she see how hard it was for her child to be so sick all the time?
She was deep in thought when she heard footsteps running up behind her. It was Cindy. "Please don't be mad at me, I only said those things so that Shelly would not get mad. I didn't mean it...please say you understand...I can't let Shelly see me talking to you so I will see you after school OK? The girl just smiled and said it was okay, don't worry about it...but her heart had broken a little bit that day as she bit back the tears that stung against her eyes. She would not let them see her cry.
"Your father wants to meet you."
So now her mother was telling her about her father. She found herself caught up in her mother's excitement and began to dream about what it would be like to finally meet him.
The day came. And now it was time to leave to go meet with her father. The young girl had chosen her favorite t-shirt and corderoy jeans and she had taken extra care to comb out her tangly hair. She wished now more than ever that she was pretty like her favorite actress Olivia Newton John, whose face adorned her t-shirt under the crooked lettering spelling out the word "Grease". The movie she had gone to see with her best friend Cindy just the week before.
Her mom pulled the 1976 Ford LTD into the parking lot of the bar. She fussed a bit with her own make up before turning her attention onto her child. She licked her finger and began smoothing back the girl's hair. She could never control that stubborn cowlick right in the middle of her forehead. The girl pushed her mother's hand away and took out her comb when a small truck pulled up a couple parking spaces away. The mom told her to wait there until she said, and then she quickly opened her door and jumped out from behind the steering wheel. Smiling and waving her hand at the man who was just exiting the truck.
The girl watched as the two adults walked towards each other, and she could not help but smile when they suddenly embraced, just like in the movies.
They both then turned their attention on the car that she was sitting in and her mom waved her over.. This was it, she thought. She moved as if led by some invisible marionette strings as she left the car and slowly walked over to the couple.
The tall man stood there in the parking lot looking down at her through brown tinted glasses as her mother introduced her to him. She shook the hand that he held out to her and then they walked into the darkness of the bar. They sat down at a small table.
The man asked her about her t-shirt. She looked down and pulled it out away from her flat chest and proceeded to tell him all about the movie. Oh Man, she thought, I can't seem to shut up about the movie! Now he is gonna think I am so stupid.
They placed their order while the girl looked around the dark bar room. She took note of the sticky floor and the sour smell of beer mingled with the smell of something frying. She had never seen so many bottles. Her stepfather had a few, and he had even taught her how to mix a bloody mary, and a screwdriver. He was a Hungarian who loved his vodka.
She ordered a Dr. Pepper and a bag of Bugles.
The man started telling her about his home in the North woods. He talked about the bears that would play in his yard, and about the snowmobiles that he would teach her to ride if she wanted.
He told her about a life so different than her own that it sounded like a dream. She was smiling non stop when he asked her if she wanted to come live with him there.
She looked at her mother who was also smiling, her red lipstick and black hair made her look like Elizabeth Taylor, except her mom did not have lavender eyes. Her eyes were a similar shade of her own hazel green.
She was absent mindedly nibbling on a Bugle, when a look of panic crossed her face. Her mother looked at her waiting for her to say something...anything.
"What about my Mom?" asked the girl.
"Oh, I meant you and your mom!" the man laughed.
They all laughed then. The girl drank her Dr. Pepper and ate the rest of her chips as the grown ups talked. Visions of playing with bears and riding snowmobiles through the woods entertained her throughout the evening.
The girl listened while her mother was talking. She noticed the scowl on her Grandmas face and when she was sent to bed that night, she stayed near the door listening to the two women.
"He said he still loves me!" cried her mother.
"He has always been a liar baby, and leopards don't change their spots!"
Grandma came into her room and kissed her on the forehead. She pretended to be asleep, because she was afraid her grandma might be mad at her for some reason. Her mother had told her grandma that she was doing it all for her...so she felt responsible for the look of worry that was on her Grandma's face now.
She awoke to the sun shining in from the big bay windows in her Grandma's bedroom. She looked over to where her Grandma sat at the edge of the bed. She started to ask about where her mom and 'Dad' where...and her grandma just looked at her and explained that her 'father' was gone...back up north. And when the girl looked confused, her grandma went on to explain that he had lied to her.
She hugged her grandchild and told her that she loved her, and that her mom was bringing her some clothes from home so that she could spend the rest of summer vacation there with grandma.
When grandma left the room, the young girl fell back against the squeeky mattress, and put her pillow over her face. she curled up her legs and thought about the events of last night. What did she do wrong? Was it all her silly talk about the movie 'Grease', was it the way she ate her food? Her stepfather hated how she picked at her food. She stayed in bed for a while longer until she heard her Grandma unlock the door to let her mother into the apartment.
The girl got up and sat at the dining table next to her mother. A bowl of fruitloops sat untouched in front of her. Her mother was wearing a pretty skirt and floral top, but now her face, once radiant and pretty, seemed pale and drawn.
She said he was gone when she phoned his hotel room that morning. He had left without a word.
The girl started reminding her mother about all the promises that he had made...What about the cabin in the woods? What about the little bear cubs? "He is coming back for us Mama!"
"No he isn't" said her mother.
"You are wrong! He is my Dad and he loves me! I will live with him in the forest with his bears and his snowmobile, You will see!" insisted the girl.
"He does not love you, when he found out about you he wanted me to have an abortion, but I could not go through with it, Baby!"
Grandma tried to silence her daughter, but it was no use...she had to continue...she had to make the child understand. Maybe she was trying to convince herself how much of a fool she had been to have fallen for his lies again.
"When he found out you were a girl, he did not even want to see you because he already had two daughters, and was hoping you were the son that he wanted!.. He never gave you anything except that stupid bag of chips and a soda! You do not owe him more than that! So stop telling me how wonderful he is...He is not your Dad, he is your biological father, but not your Dad! He is a liar and nothing else, do you understand?"
Her tears fell silently into her soggy cereal as the girl shook her head and promised to never speak of him again, although her mother would make a reference to him whenever she caught her daughter in a lie. She would accuse her of being a liar just like her biological father.
The teacher asked the girl if this was correct, and she nodded yes. The teacher then sent the girl to the office in order to straighten out the confusion. She glared at Cindy before leaving the classroom. And then she told the secretary in the office, that she was just kidding when she told her friend about having a different father. She walked back to her class telling herself that she really was her father's daughter.
You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies...John 8:44
Alone and adrift...1981
The minister was talking about heaven. The teenager wanted to cry, but she would not let the tears out...she could not...She had trained herself for so long now not to cry except while alone in her bedroom...so she looked up and counted the tiles of the funeral parlor's vaulted cieling instead. Anyone watching her in the cramped and crowded room would surely think she was strange...She did not care, she would rather they think of her as a little strange, than to have a complete meltdown in front of them here.
The closeness of the family members, mostly all very distant, were gathered so tightly in the stuffy room. The scent of thier perfumes and deodorants mixing together made her nauseous. She was not only fighting tears, but fighting the contents of her stomach as well...She thought about how they might react if she gave way to either...or even both right then and there...Would they have to call an ambulance to come and take her kicking and screaming out of there?
She hadn't had an episode like that since she was four. She could not even remember what had caused her tantrum then...but she felt like, if she let one tear slide through the gates of her eyes now...that is what would likely follow. So she continued to count tiles. She counted 134.
Her Grandma would have been proud of her self control at the time, if she were not lying in that casket at the front of the room, even though she had always felt free to show her emotions in front of Grandma, be it tears, or anger, or the silliness of singing and dancing whenever the mood struck. But Grandma was gone now, and she was all alone with her emotions.
The car ride home was silent. Her mother continued to cry softly, and when the car finally came to a halt in front of their house, the teenager waited for her mother to open her door so that she could climb from the back seat and run.
She ran down her street in her dress clothes, past her friend who was yelling something to her, past the street where she caught the bus, past the trailer park's many mailboxes, to where the road ended in a dirt trail and a steep hill. She ran through the woods, over the sand dunes sliding down them picking up sand that filled her good shoes...She took a moment to kick them off before jumping into the lake.
She swam out to what was left of the old raft that she and her rainy day friend, Shelly had built just last summer when Shelly had decided to teach her how to swim. Well, she certainly learned real fast when the raft sank, and it was literally a matter of life or death as they were half way across the small lake that was a hangout for the kids of the trailer park, as well as their families on hot summer days.
She had visited this place with her mother once as well, but because her mother had nearly drowned when she was young, she would never allow any of her children to go swimming for fear they would have the same experience...so the fact that she had secretly learned how to swim, and the circumstances surrounding it...was kept well hidden from her mother.
But today she was all by herself as she clung onto the rotted boards, and she cried and she screamed. And she threw up into the water until she felt that she had completely emptied everything vile from her body...When she was finally empty and felt colder than she had ever felt before, she climbed out from the water and then her friends showed up telling her that her mother wanted her home ASAP.
She looked down at her soaked clothing, and felt panic. Her friends said that she could go to their house first to dry her hair and clothes, and they would make sure her mother did not find out about her swim.
Her Father's daughter...1985
Married to her best friend and the love of her life. With a baby daughter to love and protect; the young woman of twenty picked up the bible that had belonged to her husband's mother who had just passed away. She felt a certain draw as she read the words that had been underlined therein:
but if anyone loves God, he is known by Him.
I Corinthians 8:3
Certainly, she had heard stories about God and his son Jesus. Her best friend who introduced her to her now husband back in highschool used to tell her a lot of things about Jesus. She did not understand them at the time though...but now...something was different.
She decided to read the last book of the bible, and it was then that her heart became filled with fear. She bundled up her baby and walked to the little church where she had been married just over two years before. It was not very far from the house that they rented ...just across the railroad tracks...
As she carefully stepped over the tracks while carrying her child...she was reminded of something that her childhood friend's brother had told her back when she was about sixteen...he said that his sister was no longer allowed to associate with her because she was a bad influence...A year later, the neighbor girl who lived next door to her sister had said that her parents had told her the same thing. Only they had used the words; "from the wrong side of the tracks", She would always remember that night when the girl had invited her to a party soon after she moved in with her sister and brother in law.
They had lied to the neighbor girl's parents and to her sister, telling them that they were going to the movies that evening.When the girl had a serious epileptic seizure from mixing alcohol with her anti-seizure medication, an ambulance was called and all the underaged party guests fled the scene except for her. The entire thing was blamed on her...even though she had been invited by her sisters neighbor...she had lied, and she had drank alcohol too, and now her friend was seriously ill. So she was off limits to her new friend who was more than happy to let all blame fall on her...She was, after all her father's daughter; the good families of any neighborhood could surely see that. and she could not blame them for protecting their children from the likes of her.
She had called the pastor and he and his wife had agreed to meet with her to answer some questions. When they asked her if she knew that she was a sinner, the young woman answered that she had never killed anyone or robbed a bank or anything. The young couple smiled at her and then patiently explained that a sin was anything that is done that goes against God's rules. And then they told her that everyone was a sinner...born that way. They asked her if she had ever lied...and she was tempted to lie then and tell them no; that she hated liars...her mother hated liars, that nobody loved a liar. But instead she just began to cry...She could not stop the tears this time...What was it about this place...this church, that she could not stop the tears from falling...She handed her baby to the Pastor's wife and she ran to the restroom...She looked at herself in the mirror and saw a snotty mess looking back at her. She wiped her nose, and splashed cold water onto her face and went back into the sanctuary where the young couple were praying...for her.
She rejoined them, mumbling something about her runny nose...and the pastor's wife told her that it was not a runny nose...but a cleansing...As she finally repented of her sins and invited jesus into her heart, she allowed the tears to flow freely as she was baptized by the Holy Spirit through them.
That day as she stood upon wobbly legs that buckled until she found herself kneeling at the alter... She knelt in front of her Heavenly Father...meeting Him for the first time through Jesus His Son. She was honored to be called a daughter of the KING!
God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. Ephesians 1:5
*Conclusion:...sometime in the future...20??
The child climbed upon Her fathers lap...His big strong hands holding onto her securely. She looked up into His beautiful face and did not even notice the tears that were flowing from her eyes as she gazed upon him in adoration! He was delighted to hold her close while he lovingly reached down and wiped away all of her tears and smiled at her. He had given her many gifts that she knew she did not deserve...But He assured her that it was His desire for her to have an abundance of good things...befitting a child of the King.
The most important gift of all was the gift of cleansing through the blood of His only begotten Son who loved her enough to pay for her sins, and the sins of all who would accept this gift...She held out her hand then, and Jesus took it into His own scarred one as He walked with her to meet the rest of the family in heaven.