Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Angry (08/02/07)
TITLE: Let Not The Sun Go Down
By Donna Powers
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But Steven was dying.
Of all her children, Barbara had always understood Steven the least. She had taught her children the Scriptures, and had done her best to teach them Christian values. Barbara remembered Steven joyfully embracing those truths and going to church with the other children. But in his teenage years, Steven had grown quiet and secretive. When he was 18, he'd moved to San Francisco. His letters had told of a different life with different choices, including a man named Eugene. Though she'd sent letter upon letter with admonishments to live in a Godly way, Steven had remained in San Francisco.
Barbara believed that whatever had happened in San Francisco had to be Eugene's fault. After all, she had raised Steven right. Barbara seethed when she imagined how that devious man must have lured her son into a sinful life. She was sure that no child of hers would make that choice.
Her anger invaded her usually placid mood as she continued to read the Psalms. Barbara felt sadness and grief, but her anger was more prevalent. For fifteen years, Barbara's letters had pled with Steven to renounce his ways and to return home. For the same fifteen years, Steven had said no.
He'd asked her to come and see him a few weeks ago. When she’d arrived, Barbara had known right away that Steven was dying. She'd thought for sure that he'd want her to take him home, but he'd made it clear that he'd only wanted to say goodbye.
Their final goodbye was just around the corner. Barbara had longed to find out the answers to this enigmatic son within the time that they had left, but it hadn’t happened. Barbara didn't know what else to do, so she sat in his hospital room and read the Psalms. There were no other answers for her but God's Truth, and Steven needed to hear it. Her futile inner tirade could not prevent the inevitable. Silently, angrily, she read the Word.
"Psalms was his favorite book of the Bible," said the man in the doorway. Barbara looked up. She didn't need an introduction. She knew she was looking at Eugene - the man who she blamed for derailing Steven's life. She’d dreaded this meeting, but had known it was inevitable.
"You need to leave," she choked out. It was hard enough for Barbara to lose Steven; why should she have to share her son’s final moments with this man?
But Eugene didn't leave. Instead, he walked over and took Steven's other hand. Gently, he held it. "Hello, Steve," he whispered. "It's Gene. I see that your mom is here, reading your favorite verses." The look in his eyes was so full of his private sorrow that Barbara had to look away.
In spite of herself, Barbara had heard Eugene's words. Psalms were Steven's favorites? She hadn’t known. She had thought that his life in San Francisco would have been one long procession of sin, and what place could the Bible have in such a life? Tears flowed hotly from her eyes as she turned back to the Psalms.
As she did, she caught a glance of her “WWJD” bracelet. Barbara grimaced. She knew exactly what Jesus would do with a man like Eugene. He’d ….
He’d love him. The realization slapped her in the face more fiercely than her anger. The same One Who loves the entire world, and had forgiven Barbara of her own sins would love and embrace this man.
She glanced at Eugene. She'd never be able to like him or be able to understand his relationship with Steven. Her comfort zone could not travel the distance between them, but as she watched she saw genuine compassion and the grief of a man who was losing his closest friend.
Steven's life could have been so much different. But Barbara couldn't change that now. She could only make a difference in the moments that they had left, together. Barbara had loved her son for all of his life; she could put aside her anger to love him now.
She took a deep breath and spoke directly to Eugene. "Tell me about my son," she said.
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