Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Family Reunion (06/05/08)
TITLE: Quarreling on the Way
By Julie Paulsen
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A summer’s drive between our home in Illinois and grandkids in Iowa is pretty flat with nothing to look at but cornfields, barns and the Mighty Mississippi. Settling in for a few hour stretch I switched on WGN to possibly catch a Cubs game.
Minus the smell of Lake Michigan, hotdogs and suntan lotion, the comforting sounds of Wrigley Field took me back to the days of Mom, Dad and the five of us siblings surrounded by bleacher bums. Relaxing into the bucket seat with a loud sigh my imagination caught the faint smell the hotdogs and heard vendor’s yelling, “Peanuts…get’chyer peanuts.”
I was lucky today; the Cubs were playing and winning. A barge going upstream caught my interest distracting me from my normal crossing-the-bridge anxiety. With that over and an uncrowded road ahead, I picked up my cell phone to check for messages.
Abbott Labs, that has to be Julie…I’ll give here a call.
“Hey, it’s me, I see you called…what’s up?”
“I didn’t call you.” Julie replied curtly.
“Oh, well that’s weird, there was a call from Abbott’s, and…”
“Well, it wasn’t me!” She interrupted emphatically. “Donna, I don’t want to talk to you!”
“Okay…” I stated slowly giving me time to think of a response. “Do you mean you don’t want to talk now, or you don’t want to talk ever?”
“I don’t want to talk to you again!” she added brusquely.
Breaking the awkward silence I stammered, “Julie, whenever you’re ready to talk, I will be here.” With that, our short conversation ended.
Turning off the radio, I needed silence…I needed to pray. Let it be, Donna. Let it be and trust Me, repeated over and over in my head. “Okay, Lord, help me to trust.” became my prayer through the coming months of silence.
A strained Christmas rolled into a new year bringing hope of restoration to the family. My daughter had a plan; birthday invitations were mailed and RSVP’s were promising. Everyone would attend the first birthday of our third grandchild, a joyous celebration.
The Fellowship Hall looked unusually festive with Star Wars action figures dancing from the ceiling. Darth Vader appeared, wishing the little one, “Happy Birthday, Son”, and the room exploded with laughter as adults played “pin the light saber on the Jedi.” Regrettably though, time proved, by broken conversation between all five siblings, that more than one relationship had tarnished.
Youngest brother, Jeff, approached me as the party broke up, “Donna, we would like to talk with you…tomorrow night at Jim’s. We know you have Power of Attorney for Dad and we have some questions.”
“Great, I’d love to get things settled.” Breathing deeply to calm my voice I replied, “Set the time and I’ll be there.”
The ride to my brother’s house was silent, yet inside, my mind was a pendulum swinging wildly from hope to despair. How did we ever get here? Yes, Dad asked me to have Power of Attorney; I am the oldest. And he asked me to manage his estate knowing I would discover the large sums of money they all owed him. Is that all it takes for our family to be in this situation? Money?
Donna, wait and see. Remember, “Let it be, trust Me.”
Several months of separation from my siblings did not bring on a severe case of melancholy, rather a severe case of distrust. I quickly learned why.
“No need to drag this out,” middle brother Jim stammered nervously “Donna, we are taking over Dad’s estate…this is the way it’s going to be.” Give me grace, Lord “One of us will be by to pick up all the financial and personal papers tomorrow.”
That was it? This is what the silence is all about? Money? And where was Dad? Oh, Lord, what is happening?
Brothers and sisters parted spouting angry words, refusing to continue conversation. Our ride home however was silent…broken with tears of sorrow. Where are the bleacher bums, hotdogs and peanuts…”peanuts anyone?”
“Let it be, trust Me.” Lord, I trust you to reunite us in Your time…
…he sent his brothers away, and…said to them, "Don't quarrel on the way!"
Genesis 45:24 (NIV)
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