Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Note (02/07/13)
TITLE: THE VOW
By Linda Oswald
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I made my way to my desk and began to search for a pen and paper. Settling into the chair, I wiped my eyes, struggling to focus. Then I began to write.
I have called you ‘Dad’ only because that’s what Mom wanted. You have never been a father to me. You never showed any interest in me, or even tried to get to know me. Maybe it’s because you are not my real father and it was hard for you. But why didn’t you even try? I really could have used a father.
I guess I should have never expected anything different from you tonight. You have always been so critical of me. I can never please you.
Why do you say such hurtful things? I can never be myself with you, always afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing.
I have nothing but bad memories of you. No wonder I’m always depressed. You are a hateful, bitter man that’s very hard to love, or even like.
I called you to tell you about my accomplishments in school. I was excited to tell you I’ve made the dean’s list. But all you could do was point out my faults. Maybe you are jealous of me because you are nothing but a loser...”
The words flowed out of me like poison. I emptied the bitterness of my soul, rage spewing onto each page. As the letter grew, so did my hatred. I only became angrier the more I wrote.
I had decided to take my best friend’s advice. Majoring in psychology, she told me it was probably time for me to be totally honest with Dad and let him know how miserable he had made me. The honesty should help bring healing to me, and hopefully wake Dad up.
When I had finished the fifth page, my head was pounding with pain. There was nothing more I could possibly say. I rummaged around for an envelope and began to address it.
“Is this what you really want to do?”
The sudden words were inaudible, but they pierced my scrambled thoughts like a sharp knife. I paused, staring at the postage stamp I held in my hand. I had heard about God speaking to others, but this was new to me.
“But Lord,” I argued. “Am I not being truthful?”
As a new Christian, I really wanted to please Him. A deep struggle started inside of me as I realized this wasn’t His will.
Hesitantly, I ripped the letter in half. I slowly kept on tearing until I held nothing but tiny pieces in my hand. I then released them into the waste basket.
“Okay, Jesus, I’ll do it your way. But I don’t want to forgive Dad! Please help me want to.”
I picked up the pen again and painfully started over.
Please forgive me for being so rude. I’m thinking of you and praying for you.
That was all I could force from myself. The words came easily, but writing them was the most difficult thing I’d ever done. A strange calmness settled inside of me as I inserted the note into the envelope. The rage had subsided. At that moment I vowed I would pray for Dad every day, and I did so for thirty years.
Transformation did not occur overnight, but gradually my relationship with Dad improved with time. Years later he began attending church with Mom. Then one day he informed us that he had made a decision to follow Christ. Soon the hard edges began to soften, and a sense of humor even began to emerge. Just before Dad’s stroke I began to really enjoy spending time with him.
Today, every time I visit him he eagerly points to the Bible beside his bed. As I read to him, I can see the comfort he draws from the Word by his peaceful countenance. I know very little about Dad’s mysterious past, but I do know how God’s love has miraculously changed his heart. And I will be eternally grateful that the Lord started with changing mine.
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