Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: RELEASE (08/02/18)
- TITLE: The Lord's Prayer
By LeslieJean Anderson
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“Your office called and asked me to come in this morning to review Dad’s tests,” I said.
“Yes. We have the results,” said the doctor, but he did not look me in the eye. “I am afraid the news is not good. Your father has lung cancer, stage four.”
I jumped to my feet. “But that can’t be! He’s never had a cough – not even bronchitis!”
The doctor glanced up at me and frowned. “Sit down. There is more.”
I sat down reluctantly. I didn’t trust these doctors. They weren’t God. They acted like it sometimes, but they made mistakes. And anyway, God was in control and could change things. Create miracles. Bring the almost-dead to life again. Restore health. I read about it all the time in my devotionals.
The doctor was looking at me now, waiting for me to compose myself. I gritted my teeth and sat back down, hands tight together.
He continued, “Not all lung cancer affects the tissues of the lungs. Sometimes the tumor grows the other way, into the body cavity, which is what has happened in your father’s case. It has attached itself to his spine, which accounts for the back ache he’s been complaining about.”
That damn back ache. We’d been to a dozen chiropractors about that. Nothing had helped much. And the steroid injections had only made it worse.
Tears sprang to my eyes, and I reached for a tissue. Then the doctor delivered the knock-out blow to my world as it existed at the time.
“He has two months to live, at best.”
At this pronouncement, anger sprang up in my eyes and stopped the flow of tears. I glared at him. As evenly as I could manage, I asked, “How do you know?”
“Because the cancer cells have spread into the spinal fluid and have travelled to his brain and other organs.”
“Oh,” I said. The tears started up again, and this time they didn’t stop.
“What can we do now?” I finally squeaked out.
“Keep his pain level under control and consider Hospice at home. And when you tell him…”
“Wait,” I said as I wiped my face. “I can’t tell him myself. It’s impossible.”
The doctor sighed. “All right. Make an appointment for tomorrow. I’ll tell him.”
I stumbled out of the office to my car, where I let the sobs flow freely. What was I going to do now? I was an only child and a widow, with grown children scattered all over the world. Dad was the only parent I’d had for forty years.
The next day I returned to the doctor’s office with my father, my emotions more under control. I was ready with words of assurance and love. Dad took the news like the soldier he’d always been.
“I’m so sorry, Dad,” I said when we got into the car.
“So, I’m gonna flop before you do, little girl,” he said. “We always knew that anyway. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.”
“But I’m not ready for it to happen.”
He took a deep breath. “Nobody is, Sweetie. But I have dodged dozens of bullets through the years. I knew one of them would get me eventually.”
A few minutes later, as I stopped the car in front of his house, he muttered, “Damn those cigarettes.”
Two months later – to the day - Dad called me to his bedside, breathing heavily.
“Susie, I have something to tell you before I die.”
I took his hand in mine. “What is it, Dad?”
He looked at me with blue eyes swimming in rarely-seen tears. “I had a vision last night. Your mother delivered a message. She is waiting for me but wants me to tell you the truth about your birth.”
“What truth, Dad?” I replied uneasily.
“That you were only loaned to us.”
“What do you mean?” I asked, confused.
“You were the child we conceived on our honeymoon, but I am not your true father.”
“Susie - God will look after you when I am gone, because… He is your true father.”
I didn’t know what to say. I just smiled and nodded. I’d said it many times in the Lord’s Prayer, but suddenly it sounded new.
Then he whispered, “She also said that love binds us together – forever. I love you, little girl.”
Then he closed his eyes. Those were his last words. He died that night.
This is creative nonfiction based on several true events.
Scripture: Matthew 6:9-13
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