by Adele Butler
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"So how long are you going to punish Mike for something he may not even have done?" Marion asked her daughter, Megan.
They were sitting in the backyard, enjoying a beautiful, sunny Sunday afternoon in June. Megan sister, Karen was busy in the kitchen preparing dinner while the kids splashed in the pool. Megan watched them enjoying themselves wistfully, wishing that she could trade places with them.
She turned to her mother, tears glistening in her eyes. "Jennifer saw him with another woman," she muttered angrily.
Marion reached over and touched her hand. "Honey, that doesn't mean what you think it does," she said.
Megan pulled her hand away. "I confronted him about it and of course, he denied it."
"Don't you believe him?"
"If it was innocent, why didn't he say something?"
"I don't know but there must be a perfectly good explanation. Mike loves you. He would never cheat on you."
"I'm sure you said the same thing about Dad."
Marion sighed. "I knew that your Dad was cheating on me before he left the marriage," she admitted.
"I just didn't want to face up to it. I tried to figure out what I had done to drive him to do
"You didn't do anything. You were a good wife to him. You bent over backwards to make him happy and what did he do? He left you."
"Perhaps he wanted something I couldn't give him. I don't know. Perhaps I will never know. I have forgiven him."
"How could you forgive him?" Megan demanded. "He abandoned you and me." The tears were rolling down her face now as the memories of the day when her father left flooded her mind. She was thirteen at the time and she was standing in the living-room, looking up at him. He seemed so tall then. Her mother had asked him to stay for Megan's sake. When he said that he couldn't, not even for Megan and walked out of their lives, Megan felt as if her whole world had fallen apart. That day was the worst day of her life--or it was until a week ago when she found out about Mike and the mystery woman.
Marion stared at her daughter. "You still haven't forgiven your father for not choosing you, have you?"
"No. He chose that woman over his own daughter. He and I were close. I believed that he would be there for me all of my life. I was his favorite. We were always together. I wanted to marry a man just like him. Well, it looks like I got my wish." She laughed bitterly.
"Megan, you need let go of the bitterness you still have towards your father because it is affecting your marriage. Your father left me. He left our marriage. He never left you. He is still your father. He is still in your life. He has not stopped being your father. You need to learn to forgive him and move on. You need to give Mike a chance to explain himself."
"Mom, I know you mean well, but I am still too hurt and angry."
Marion studied her for a moment. Then she suggested, "Talk to God about this. Tell him how angry and hurt you are and how hard it is for you to forgive your father. Talk to Him about Mike. Ask God for his help." She got up. "I'll go and see if Karen needs help." She brushed a few blonde tendrils back from Megan's forehead before she turned and walked away.
Megan sighed and buried her face in her hands. Her heart was heavy. "Oh, Lord, help me," she cried. "How can I forgive my father when I think of what he did to our family? And how could I trust Mike now?"
"Your father had a hard time forgiving himself after he left you, Megan. He knew how much his decision hurt you and that was the last thing he wanted to do. I forgave him for his adultery. Why can't you forgive him too? You can trust Mike. He is a good and faithful husband. Don't jump to conclusions. Listen to what he has to say. Remember the story of the unforgiving servant. Guard your heart against unforgiveness."
Megan felt a peace come over her. Her heart felt light as if a great weight had been lifted. She quickly dried her eyes and she picked up her cell phone. She took a deep breath and dialled a number.
"Hello, Dad? It's Megan. Can I come over and see you? It's very important."
“Meg, I have something to tell you,” Mike said to her one evening after dinner.
Megan felt her heart drop in her chest and a feeling of dread come over her. She was afraid to look at him. Her mouth went dry but she managed to get the words out, “What is it?”
“Remember the house we went to see two weeks ago?”
She turned to him then. “You mean the one we fell in love with and had to bid for?”
“Yes. It’s ours.”
“Ours?” She could hardly believe that they were taking about the house when she had expected to hear the worst from him—like their marriage was over. “When did you find out?”
“Last week. John called me and told me that our bid was accepted. And the woman Jennifer saw me with was the seller. John and I met with her to go over some details. John had to leave because he had another appointment. The seller is a happily married woman who is moving to Nova Scotia with her family.”
Tears poured down Megan’s face. “Oh, Mike, I am such a fool. Do you think you could ever forgive me for the way I have been treating you and for not trusting you?”
Mike took her in his arms. “I understand,” he said. “You have a hard time trusting men because of what happened with your father. I want you to know that you can trust me. I would never hurt you or betray you. I love you and buying this house is my way of renewing my commitment to you and our marriage.”
Megan clung to him as she heard that small, still voice say, “Let go of the past, hold on to the present and look toward the future.”
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