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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Writing a Letter (handwritten correspondence) (10/21/10)

TITLE: Autumn of Reconciliation
By Dan Blankenship


The cool, scented breeze of maple trees sent the long curtains dancing through the air in Doug’s den. October had always been Jenny’s favorite month. Doug considered the irony in choosing today to write the letter. He pulled the pad of stationary from the top drawer of his desk. He grabbed a pen that Pastor Glenn had given him for his birthday many years ago. This would be the first time he had ever used the pen. And it would be the first time he would admit the mistakes he’d been running from.

Dear Jenny,

I pray you are doing well. I’m sure you will be surprised to receive this letter. You must have expected it to arrive much sooner, and had probably given up hope that it would ever arrive.

Doug paused and looked at the Bible at the edge of his desk. He thought about forgiveness and humility. He had been proud, and the Bible told him pride comes before destruction. Jenny had been a difficult teenager, but he had been an incorrigible father, always putting his work ahead of everything in his life. He rubbed his hand over the leather face of the Bible, remembering the days when Jenny was a little girl and he read to her from that Bible. A tear ran down his face and dropped onto the yellow paper as he continued writing.

I know there are things I’ve said, things I’ve done, things I can never undo. It is not like me to admit my faults on paper, but I don’t think you would take a phone call from me. I don’t even know for sure you’ll read this letter, but I know I can’t continue to ignore the broken relationship between us.

The pen worked well, and Doug began to write faster and faster. He felt relief, joy, and renewal from his efforts. He imagined his daughter reading his words and accepting his guilty plea. He felt the Holy Spirit inspiring him to make sincerity evident with every word he wrote.

Cool air rushed across his face and hands. He heard a dog barking from somewhere in the neighborhood. He thought of the day he brought a puppy home for Jenny. She never let that puppy spend a moment alone. It was that Jenny he was writing – the beautiful, apple-of-his-eye daughter who always thought her dad was the greatest super-hero in the world.

I remember your first day of school. You begged me for hours to go with you. I doubt you’d want me to walk you to your car now. I hope that the words I’m saying to you now can start us down a road to reconciliation, because I can no longer accept that the damage between us is irreparable. I’ve prayed for weeks to have God’s hand help me write this letter, knowing all too well that I am fully capable of screwing things up when I do things on my own.

Doug finished the letter and sealed it in the envelope. He walked to the open window of his second-story den. He looked out at the gold and red leaves being torn from their homes and landing on the soft grass below. He hoped his letter would land on a daughter whose heart had been softened by prayers, time, and the everlasting bond between a doting father and his beloved daughter. He had never before written a letter of such importance; he had never before written a letter that required his heart as the cost of postage.


Doug heard his doorbell ring. As he made his way to the front door, he thought for split second that it might be Jenny at on the other side of the door. He quickly dismissed the idea as wishful thinking. But when he opened the door and felt his daughter’s arms wrap around him, he realized his wishful thinking had been lacking in expectations. Doug’s eyes filled with tears, he quietly whispered in his daughter’s ear, “What’s wrong, did you run out of stamps and had to hand deliver your reply?”

Jenny laughed and replied, “I was in the neighborhood…well, I was in the same state at least.”

Looking past his daughter’s shoulder, Doug noticed all of the leaves had fallen from the trees and rested calmly on the soft grass.

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This article has been read 634 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/31/10
This is beautiful and I'm delighted it had a happy ending. I'll never quite understand what could possibly come between a parent and a child that would make them stop talking. It breaks my heart to know how many true stories there are out there. You did a great job with pulling me into the story. I even crossed my fingers in hope of reconciliation.
Sarah Heywood11/01/10
This brought tears to my eyes. I especially like the last line, where you draw the beginning and the end together in a sweet, restful, conclusion. Great writing!
Nancy Sullivan 11/10/10
You used a beautiful fall setting to express the father's feelings so well. The story's ending was worth waiting for. Good job!