Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: STEW (11/26/15)
- TITLE: Forgiveness
By M. C. Syben
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Carol’s husband died instantly in a head-on crash. In a blink, her 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 Stew is here,” she said in a tiny voice.
“He’s nice. He say’s Jesus fiddles us,” 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?”
“Apparently, he’s helping Joy through her sadness. I want to thank him.”
“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 says it too.”
“Who is Stew?”
“Mommy, Jesus fiddles him. He’s sorry.”
“What is he sorry for, sweetie?”
Carol panicked. “What? Don’t talk to that Stew.”
“Mommy, fiddle him like I did.”
“You heard me young lady,” 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?”
“I’ve heard from Pastor Reese. A benefactor is seeing to your complete monetary welfare for a year. But money is the least of your worries.
“Daughter, I’m more concerned with your spiritual state. It’s time you understand. 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 so that aching hearts might be healed with sweet memories.
A year later, Pastor Reese introduced Carol to her benefactor, 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, the Church foyer displayed a welcoming portrait of a young, smiling Stew.
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