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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Sad (07/26/07)

TITLE: The Gift of Transparency
By Venice Kichura
07/26/07


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I sat quietly at the "Dinner for Eight” social, hoping no one would ask.

Then, when our hostess suggested we go ‘round the table introducing ourselves, I felt a knot in my stomach.


“You can keep it simple,” she said. “You know---tell us where you grew up, how you met your spouse, the basics…."


Non-threatening questions I can handle, I thought, sighing a prayer of relief. Simple and safe for now.


Pastor and his wife, who sat to the right of me, started the introductions. We hadn’t attended their church long, but knew they had grown children and grandchildren, but didn’t mention them.

Whew! Please let me go next and get this over with before it gets out of hand.


I groaned inside as our hostess motioned for the couple to the right of them to go next. Thankfully, they continued to pave the way, keeping it safe, not mentioning their families. However, as the introductions continued around the dinner table, the couples started crowing about their amazing grown children and exceptional grandchildren.

"Our son is a top CEO,” a newly retired man said, beaming. “And we're blessed with six beautiful grandchildren we see regularly...."

My mind drifted to what I would say as the proud father jabbered on about his family. I sat, crying inside, pretending to be interested. Trying to hide my grief, trying hard to keep tears from escaping. It was our younger son’s 26th birthday, but we didn’t even know where he was. He told us months ago, when he got out of prison, he wanted nothing more to do with his past. He’d also opted to leave our family, stating he was changing his name, moving to an undisclosed state. To make a long story short, he’d acquired multiple DUIs and criminal impersonation charges, as well as lied to us about everything in his life.

At our old church up north, just about everyone knew of our heartache, as I couldn’t stop the tears. True, they gave us both emotional and prayer support, as well as truly cared. However, we wanted to start over in our new community, not hide in the back pews because we “just knew everyone knew.”

I’d promised myself, and my husband, that tonight would be different. I won’t cry!


As it came to our turns to share, my husband and I exchanged anxious looks. His side glance at me said, remember your promise. As he started to talk, he managed to cover about everything, except our children.


Then, as I opened my mouth to speak, our hostess asked the dreaded questions---"What about your kids? How many do you have? Any grandchildren? Where are they?"

I swallowed hard, holding back tears, standing in my eyes.

"We have two grown sons.” I paused, thinking what to say next. ”The older one is married with five kids and lives in Florida...”

I took another deep breath, bit my lip, stared at my dinner plate, and then continued….

”The younger one is somewhere (hopefully alive) on this planet, but we do not know where. He has numerous problems, another story for another time. I’m trying hard not to cry right now. Today's his 26th birthday and we haven’t seen him for over a year. It's a long, sad story... Please pray,” I rattled off, nervously, trying not to rehash our entire tear-jerking saga.


I blinked back tears, glanced quickly up, and scanned their faces, recognizing the familiar looks of pity. The "I'm-so-sorry” looks.

How can these people with such wonderful families understand our dysfunctional family? I could also write a best-selling novel on some roller-coaster “adventures” with our older son.

Then I felt strangely relieved, that I had shared, if only a fragment, of our sorrow.

After an awkward silence, Pastor said, "It's okay if you do cry. What's his name? We’ll be praying. There’s always hope in Christ. We love you.”

Although I was thankful I hadn’t hung out alll our dirty laundry, I felt okay about allowing a few soiled linens dangle on the line.

Then I heard my Lord whisper, Thank you, child, for sharing. You’ve assured others here they are not alone in their journey of sorrow. Thanks for giving the gift of transparency.


Sadness still wrapped around me, as dark as my black-knitted shawl, Yet, I felt better, knowing possibly, I’d touched other hurting souls with our story, assuring them they are not alone.


As Pastor said, “there’s hope in Christ.”


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This article has been read 948 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Loren T. Lowery08/02/07
Just started reading the entries for this week and beginning with this one, I can see it's going to be difficult getting through them because of the theme. But I liked your message of being honest and truthful and reminding me that a grief shared makes it only half a grief. Easier said than done at times, however.
Joanne Sher 08/02/07
And it is a gift - sharing, even a part, so lightens the load.
This is so moving, and encouraging. Thank you.
Verna Cole Mitchell 08/02/07
This was a good title for this sad story. Sometimes it helps to have Christians share part of the burden. As your leader pointed out, you character was the honest one.
Dara Sorensen08/03/07
A moving story, one that didn't have to go over the top to display the emotions welling within the MC. Great job!
Linda Watson Owen08/03/07
I'm supposed to be getting ready for work. I dropped in 'quickly' just to take a glance and couldn't pull myself away. You so masterfully captured the heart and experience of a parent's hurting heart. Wonderully crafted.
Dolores Stohler08/03/07
This has the ring of a true story. If so, you are certainly not alone in this. I have a prodigal son as well and a close friend has three who have never accepted the Lord although they grew up in a Christian home. The sad truth is that our children must find their own way and we can only hope and pray they make the right choice. Thanks for sharing.
Dee Yoder 08/03/07
It's ture that being transparent is a gift. It's also true that it helps others to know that the Christian life isn't perfect, but with Christ, all things are possible. When I've shared some personal hurts in the past, it's allowed others to open up, too. Thanks for sharing your story and your wonderful wisdom!
Phyllis Inniss 08/04/07
Your story touches the heart and your honesty in sharing it gives hope to others they're not alone with problems that only God can solve.
Janice Fitzpatrick08/07/07
This is a story that gives hope to all and ecourages us to open up and not be concerned of what others might think. Each of us have some hidden heartaches, hurts or disappointments we have faced in life but it is Christ who says, "Let us share one another's burdens". As a family in Christ we need to be non judegemental and have a listening compassionate heart.
I am glad that your narrator opened up enough to be genuine and in so doing maybe paved the way for otehrs to feel freer about sharing.
I could relate to this having loved ones who are not in the right place with the Lord where they should be. I also know many prodigals who have come back to the flock. I too have made some unfortunate choices when young but Praise God we have an awesome Heavenly Father who knows all of our weaknesses and keeps whispering,COme home".
If this story is based on some personal hurts that you have gone through I encourage you to keep praying and don't give up your faith. Please remember that when all seems at loss God miraculously sometimes through other people brings the stray to His loving arms.
I heard something years ago that we should picture what we long for ,such as a loving relationship with our partner or children, or a loved one or ourselves healed, bills paid,etc and then start lining it up with scripture and keep standing on it no matter what. I do believe faith, prayer and putting GOd first brings our miracles to the table of our Heavenly Father where we can sup and enjoy eating of His goodness. Lord bless you and your writing. Beautiful! Thank you so for writing this and sharing it with all of us at FW. Janice