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M. C. Syben
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Forgiveness by M.C. Syben
Carol’s husband died instantly in a head-on crash. In a blink, a childhood sweetheart was ripped from the young woman’s life—no chance for goodbyes.
Weeks later, Carol managed to half-listen to her daughter’s prayers and robotically kissed the three-year-old goodnight. She tucked the child in tight as though the cover was a protective cocoon.
“Mommy, don’t worry. Daddy is in heaven but Jesus is here,” she said in a tiny voice.
“Jesus says to fiddle Stew,” Joy yawned. Eyelids heavy, she fell asleep mid mumble.
The next morning, Carol followed the aroma of coffee relieved her supportive mother had come to her rescue.
“Mom, Joy mentioned someone named Stew last evening. Do you know him?”
Her mother’s face paled.
“Good morning to you too. I don’t know anyone personally by that name; why do you ask?”
“Something Joy said last night.”
“Honey, church members commandeered this house after the accident, but I don’t recall meeting a Stewart.”
“Maybe Joy met him at the funeral?”
“Joy stayed with a sitter, dear, remember? You thought she was too young.”
“Oh, Mom, that day is a haze. My grief battled with hatred and anger—anger at the man who killed Blake. Didn’t he run down someone else too?” Carol snapped.
“Dear, you still don’t know the facts.”
“I don’t? I know Blake died through no fault of his own.” Carol slammed her coffee cup on the counter. “He’s gone. How can I make mortgage payments, health insurance? Raise Joy alone?”
“Carol, have faith…”
“Faith? Faith in a God who stole my husband, a Christian, instead of some…some…loser?” she cried.
“Stop. You know better than that.”
“So what. I know better, but I’m furious. It isn’t fair.”
Carol’s mother grabbed her shoulders. “Would Blake respond hatefully in this situation?”
Carol became still. “You know Blake—big on forgiveness; short on hate,” she whispered.
“That’s right. Forgiveness—Christ’s purpose on Earth.”
“Fiddle-ness, Mommy.” Joy bounced into the room, her hair a tangled mess. “Stew wants it too.”
“Who is Stew?”
“Mommy, Jesus fiddles him. He’s sorry.”
“What is he sorry for, sweetie?”
“Daddy going away.”
Carol panicked. “What?”
“Mommy, fiddle him like Jesus said.”
“Your daddy is dead—gone. Mom, what is happening here?” Carol screamed.
“Grandma!” Joy leapt into her grandmother’s arms tears streaming down her cheeks.
“It’s alright dear. Go play in your room. I’ll be right there. Don’t worry, ok?”
Carol paced the floor once again. “What’s happening? Is my child losing her mind? Just when we can lose everything? Why aren’t you concerned by any of this?”
“First of all, I’ve heard from Pastor Reese. A benefactor is seeing to your complete monetary welfare for a year; money is the least of your worries.
“Daughter, I’m more concerned with your spiritual state. It’s time you fully understand the accident. Robert Jensen, a gentle soul, I hear, rammed Blake when he swerved to avoid Stewart McCarthy, a homeless, decorated veteran. Stew was killed anyway. Pastor says Robert is devastated although the law finds no fault in his actions.
“You must give those men forgiveness for your sake and, apparently, Joy’s too. Things won’t resolve in this house until you pardon your husband’s death. The truth is Robert responded at the wheel just as Blake would have.”
Carol gazed at Blake’s haunting photo that sat next to the family bible. She yanked her stare away only to rest it on the cross above the entryway. Shameful tears welled. Her mother was right. She hurried into Joy’s room and kneeled down before the tiny bed with pink hearts and ruffles.
“Joy, honey, I’m sorry. Jesus is always right. Forgiveness is important. I see that now. Will you pray with me and help me forgive the men who caused Daddy’s accident?”
Joy kneeled next to her mother.
Carol’s prayer of reconciliation required a sincere act of surrender to the Lord’s will. Afterwards, peace found fertile soil to bloom sweet memories. Aching hearts could grow strong once again.
A year later, Pastor Reese introduced Carol to Robert Jensen. They prayed to resolve conflicting feelings and followed prayer with long talks. In time, conversations became dates that bloomed into love.
Absolution brought new beginnings for Robert, Carol, and Joy as they said “I do” on the first day of Spring. To remind guests that the Lord’s process of forgiveness is a timeless source of grace and power, the Church foyer displayed a portrait of Stew, welcoming, smiling, and at peace.
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