Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Sibling(s) (05/01/08)
By judy furniss
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Gail’s life was never easy. She left home at the age of fifteen to escape the abuse of our stepfather and then quickly jumped into a situation no better than the one she left. She married a man much older than herself and bore him four children while he stepped out on her, drank himself into oblivion and then came home to beat and admonish her.
My sister always tried to hide her hardships from me by putting on a façade, pretending that everything was okay with her family. Through the years, though, it became more difficult for her to conceal her broken heart and bruised dignity as her children started to rebel and her husband continued to neglect her.
In her later years, her controlling husband left her for a much younger woman and her adult children abandoned her, leaving her alone and empty.
The only person she had left to love her was me, but I didn’t do such a good job at loving my sister. Anytime she would come to visit, I would criticize, judging her mercilessly, during the times when she needed to be loved the most. I preached hell and damnation, pointing out all of her sins that needed forgiving, never once having empathy for her.
When she became ill, and I learned that I was going to lose the only sibling I had, my heart broke. After falling on my face before the Lord to confess my critical spirit, I had to face my sister and ask her forgiveness. I was afraid I was too late. I sat at her bedside and prayed that she heard my pleas.
This morning my sister opened her eyes and smiled at me. She was coherent, her mind clear.
“I said a prayer today,” she said barely above a whisper. “I accepted Christ as my personal Savior.
“That’s wonderful,” I choked, a knot forming in my throat.
“I heard you Sis. I forgive you.”
By this time tears are streaming down my face washing away the pain from the past. A sense of peace filled the room as I cherished the last moments with my dear sister.
Then she opened her eyes one last time to ask me for a favor.
“Anything,” I said, taking her cold, withered hand in mine.
“Could you possibly get me one of those pretty gravestones and have it engraved? I don’t want anything fancy written on it, I just want it to say … ‘Forgiven.’
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