Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: The Deep End (03/06/14)
TITLE: The Prodigal Dad
By Ken Ebright
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Feeling stunned, I had no idea that this was coming. Still in mourning over my mom's suicide three months earlier, I didn’t know what to think.
The following weekend I met my stepmom, Mary; all I remember is we chatted while sitting in the living room. I found out that she had two daughters and a son. On Saturday night, Tom, who would become my stepbrother, spent the night with me. The following day, I met Gloria and Dianna, who would become my stepsisters, and we went to church together. I had this feeling that this could turn into a marriage because I never had seen my dad date someone before. The next weekend, Tom broke the news on the escalator at Woolworth's--Dad and Mary were getting married. My head was spinning because my dad just met this woman two weeks earlier.
They seemed happily-married until the middle nineties; by that time the family circle had grown. (Everyone, except me was married and had kids.) After a fun day with my niece and nephew at the Mall Of America, I received a phone call from my stepmom, and I heard those fateful words: "Your dad and I are breaking up. Gloria was really worried about you." Again, I was breathless; I couldn't believe that this was happening.
They would break up and get back together a few more times. Then, one Easter Sunday, in 1998 we gathered together at my sister's. My parents arrived, and my dad went straight to the couch and looked off into space; he didn't utter a word that entire day. I had the queasy feeling in my stomach that something was wrong. The next day, my stepmom, phoned me to tell me that my dad had left. That made me sad because I felt like I had lost my dad forever. I eventually found his address, but he didn't write me back.
I moved to Illinois in 2000. When I left Minnesota, I was broken; I felt like it wasn't my home anymore.
In 2012, on my way to Twin Cities for the holidays, I stopped to see my stepmom in Albert Lea, Minnesota. She told me that she was talking with my dad. The following spring, they were remarried. When I left for my sister's house, I shed tears of joy as I sped to Minneapolis.
On Father's day in 2013, I saw my dad and my stepmom. Although, I had seen my stepmom many times before, this was the first time in fifteen years that I saw my dad. When he left, I was worried I would never see him again.
When my dad first married Mary, after the shock was over, I felt kind of excited because this was something new. My dad’s marriage ended up being a real blessing in my life. As a result it was the start of a character change that would last the next twenty years.
He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds Psalm 147:3
When I think about Dad's marriage with Mary, he jumped into it quickly. He also admitted to me that he made a mistake when he left Mary. My dad made a few snap decisions. One result brought healing, another brought hurt. It never dawned on me that my dad would get back together with Mary. For many years, I felt like I was drowning in despair because I was abandoned by both of my parents. When they left me, it made me feel as though I was unlovable. It's a good thing that the Lord is in control, because he pulled me out of the water and healed my broken spirit.
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