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

TITLE: Words From the Past
By Joyce Morse


Tears fell on the paper as she tried to think of the right words. She sniffed, wiped her eyes and continued. It would be the hardest letter she ever had to write.


Lisa took a deep breath and pushed open the door to the records office of the county courthouse. Did she really want to know?

“May I help you?” A tall, smiling woman greeted her.

“I’ve petitioned to have my adoption records unsealed,” Lisa explained. She handed the piece of paper to the woman.

“Everything looks in order. Give me just a minute and I’ll get them for you.”

Lisa took a seat. She’d waited twenty-five years and now she wasn’t sure. Her adoptive parents had been wonderful, the only parents she needed. So why was this urge to know where she came from so strong?

God, help me to be doing the right thing. She stood as she heard the woman approach.

“Follow me and you can look at this in one of our conference rooms. There’s a copier down the hall.”


Lisa wiped her sweaty palms on her jeans and moistened her lips. Her hand trembled as she placed a finger on the doorbell. You can do this, she reminded herself. The sound reverberated through the walls as she pressed the bell.

A petite dark-haired woman opened the door. “Yes?”

“Are you Lori McEntire?”

“Uh, yes.” Her forehead wrinkled in concentration. “Do I know you?”

Lisa swallowed. “I’m your daughter.”

Lori grabbed the doorframe. “Yes. You look just like I did at your age.”

“Can we talk?”

Lori stepped back. “Please come in.” Her voice was barely above a whisper; the confidence Lisa had first seen was gone. Her face was ashen and her hands trembled, obvious signs that this was a shock to her.

“How did you find me?” Lori asked once they were seated in the formal living room.

“I had my records unsealed and your letter to me was in there.”

“Ah yes, the letter.” Lori looked out the bay window. “I still remember sitting at my desk writing that letter. What could I say to the child I would never know to explain what I was doing?”

“It was a beautiful letter,” Lisa said. “It showed that you cared about me even though you couldn’t keep me. That’s why I came – to let you know that I forgive you.”

Tears formed in Lori’s eyes. “I don’t deserve your forgiveness.”

Lisa placed her hand on Lori’s. “I didn’t deserve God’s forgiveness but He gave it anyway. You allowed me to be adopted by a wonderful couple who have raised me to know God’s love and grace. His forgiveness.” She paused and took a deep breath. “At first I couldn’t figure out why I wanted to find out about my birth family. And then I read your letter and realized it wasn’t about me. God wanted me to meet you so that you could know that I forgave you. And so you could forgive yourself.”

Lori wiped her eyes. “ ‘I’ll never forgive myself for not being the kind of mother you need.’ I remember writing those words. And I haven’t been able to, even though I’ve gone on with my life.”

“But you can now.”

“I’ll try.”

Lisa showed her one of her photo albums from her childhood. Lori told about her parents and sisters and of the children she had once she married. Their visit lasted over two hours.

“You’ve made me feel a peace I haven’t felt since the day you were born,” Lori said. “Thank you.”

“Thank you for writing that letter, letting me know that I wasn’t just a problem you had to deal with. That in your own way you were doing what was best for me.”

“Thank you for forgiving me.”

Lisa left with a feeling of closure. She knew they wouldn’t become best friends, probably wouldn’t even see each other again. But God had worked His purpose all those years ago and again today through the letter. Thank you for using me, she prayed as she drove to her parents’ house.

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This article has been read 397 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lollie Hofer10/29/10
What a sweet story...there was so much in it...God's perfect plan, God's redemption, forgiveness. Well done.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/30/10
This is a sweet story.
Philippa Geaney 11/01/10
You wrote this beautifully. Forgiveness possible because a letter from the past. Lovely.
Jan Ackerson 11/01/10
Sweet story, well done.

My only suggestion--this is a basic plot that's been 'done'--you're a very good writer, and I'd like to see you bring something fresh and unique to the storyline.

This could definitely find a place in a topical newsletter.
Nancy Sullivan 11/10/10
Forgiveness received and forgiveness given. A winning combination for any situation. You did a great job of showing eternal benefits of both.