Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Father (as in paternal parent, not God) (04/10/08)
By Kim Clendenin
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Jessica sat in her favorite chair watching the birds outside at the feeder. The sun was shining brightly. It was a clear day, the kind that normally would have had her outside in the garden. However, no matter how hard she tried, she just could not get enthusiastic about anything.
It had been four years today since her father had passed away. There were so many times that she had wanted to pick up the phone to call and ask him a question, only to remember…he was gone. Jessica sighed and rocked slightly as she watched a blue jay run off a cardinal at the bird feeder.
Jessica had been very close to her father. Her mother had never shown her any affection or love, but her father made up for it all. She remembered fondly how he called her Cat. Her childhood had not been perfect, but there was never a doubt as to how much he loved her.
Her father had been an alcoholic when she was little, and he had been abusive to her mother. One day, in a drunken stupor, he accidentally hit her and gave her a black eye. That was the first time she had ever seen him cry and he never drank again.
The sun had now risen and was shining through the window. Jessica leaned back and closed her eyes, absorbing the warm rays coming through the window, as she continued to reminisce.
Many times her parents had gotten into fights, and her father would leave. He would always ask her whom she wanted to stay with. She knew that he wanted her to go with him. And as much as she wanted to, she was scare to leave her mother. She was afraid she would try to commit suicide again. Sadly, bowing her head, she would say, “I’ll stay with mom”. She remembered the look of hurt that flashed across his face, and then he would turn and leave. She watched with tears running down her cheeks as his truck disappeared down the road.
She regretted saying no to her father, because now she understood the pain it had caused him. She knew because her son had done the exact same thing to her. She remembered the heart breaking pain when he chose to go live with his father instead of staying with her. How it must have hurt her father in the same way every time she stayed with her mother instead of going with him. The tears began to flow freely down her cheeks once again. She reached for a Kleenex on the table beside her chair.
Her heart ached with guilt and the need to tell him how sorry she was. She knew that where he was it did not matter, the problem was, she was still here, on earth, and she was not at peace. She wanted so desperately to tell him she was sorry.
Whipping the tears away, Jessica picked up her bible, hoping to find comfort in God’s word. She opened it randomly, and there she read: John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you….Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. ( NIV)
With astonishment, she knew God was telling her everything was ok, that her father new the truth and God was filling her heart with peace and love. It was not a coincidence that her bible fell open to that scripture. Tears once again began to flow as peace settled in her heart. A peace that only God can give, freeing her from the burden she‘d been carrying. She smiled and gave thanks. Her father knew. She looked outside the window, seeing for the first time just how beautiful the day really was. She was finally able to smile as she remembered her father. She also remembered how they had picked daffodils every spring on the hillside near their house. She decided that she would plant some now. With renewed energy, she headed out to the garden, filled with the love of God and a peace that surpasses all understanding.
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