Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: CALL (01/14/16)
TITLE: The Other Side Of The Tracks
By Cindy White
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I was young when I left home, 17. The people that called themselves my parents were difficult for me to understand. They were mean spirited, or so it seemed to me. I think I actually hated them. I suppose they were satisfactory when I was a child, but with the teen years came revelation.
In private, the hostility intensified between them, in contrast to the genteel appearance on display for the outside world. The hypocrisy burned me at my core. The first to go was respect, next tolerance, followed ultimately by love.
Days would pass without one glance my way until something would set one of them off. Then, without warning, I became the object of their intense focus. And not in a good way. Eventually my life and my spirit were demolished. I wished they would split up. I mean, if you're that unhappy...
With those I had entrusted with my security providing nothing but instability and heartache, leaving didn't look so scary. I figured I could do better on my own. The day after graduation, I took off.
My friend and I went to Florida to visit her aunt for the summer and stayed. The warm humid air comforted with its bathwater like embrace. I found work enough to sustain me, but managed to make some bad choices along the way. When men took advantage of me, I'd blame my father for not being my protection. When jobs didn't work out, I'd blame my mother for not equipping me.
I never contacted my parents again. I saw no value in pursuing relationship with two so dysfunctional. My wedding was a simple service, and in keeping with my life's theme, I walked myself down the isle. I wasn't sure what to expect of marriage, but I was determined not to be like them. Being important to someone felt wonderful. I'd make it last.
Life was messy and complicated. When things got tough, I wasn't sure where to turn. That's when we met Mr. and Mrs. Jackson. The middle aged couple were more than just our landlords. At first they seemed too good to be true. I assumed everyone put on a facade like my parents had. But living in their guest house, I watched them love and respect each other consistently. They were kind and generous, and boy could that woman bake cookies.
I grew to love the Jacksons. With a baby on the way, it was comforting to know there was someone we could turn to for help when we needed them. The Jacksons introduced me to Jesus. The day I gave my life to Christ something in me started to change. Though He filled a hole in my soul, there was still an empty place aching for something I couldn't yet identify.
I came to understand that, although nobody is perfect, we are perfected in Christ. I am so grateful for His mercy and His saving grace. He forgave me and then commanded that I, too, be forgiving.
So much to forgive, yet so much forgiven.
His Spirit nudged my heart toward the other side of the tracks.
Mrs. Jackson hounded me. “Call your mother,” she kept saying. “Call your mother.”
Soon the doctor handed me a sweet bundle in a pink blanket and at once my heart both overflowed and broke. A mind cannot fathom the love of a mother for her child. Could it be that my own mother once looked upon me with this same adoration? I considered the lifetime I hoped for with this child, and the pain that I would feel if it ended after 17 short years. Never had I wanted to share with my own mother anything as much as I did this moment, this tiny baby.
I didn't even know if they were still alive, let alone had the same phone number.
“Hello?” I could hear a train whistle in the background.
“Hi, Mom? It's me.”
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