Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: GOING HOME (from vacation) (09/03/15)
By Holly Westefeld
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Now, as I sit on a rock watching the sunrise over the Grand Canyon, I wrestle with my mixed feelings about going home. Grandma got such a sad look in her eyes last night as we talked about today's return trip at dinner. I think they suspect that things are bad at home, because when they found out I didn't have a cell phone, they bought a basic one and added it to their plan, when they could have gotten a cheaper, prepaid one, if they just wanted to reach me when we were apart at Disney Land. Part of me would like to go home with them, but I would never do that to Mom.
I pull up the pictures they have texted me of Dad, some from when I was a little boy before the accident, others from when he was a teen, that are like looking in a mirror. Bruce has done all he can to try and blot out our memories of Dad, but when he's not there, Mom sometimes gets out pictures she has hidden away.
Grandma and Grandpa have found a church both Sundays on our trip. The one we visited yesterday stirred up a lot of thoughts and memories. As a man showed me to the junior high class, we passed one with younger children singing "Jesus Loves Me," and I had to fight a lump in my throat. In the service, it was all I could do to keep an expressionless face while the pastor talked about the lost son, and the loving Father that watched and waited for him to come home. He said that some people have trouble understanding God's love, when it has not been shown by their earthly father. It was not so hard to understand, after a couple of weeks with Grandpa. When the pastor asked if anyone wanted to give their life to this perfectly loving Father, I peeked at Grandpa out of the corner of my eye. He leaned over and whispered that he would go with me if I wanted to go. We went, and I figured that if Grandpa could shed a couple of tears, there was no shame in me doing so.
They gave me a pocket New Testament, which I pull out, and find the story again in Luke. My gut tells me it is all true, but my mind asks how God is all-loving when terrible things like accidents tear families apart, especially when it changes the family to include someone like Bruce. Then I wonder what his father was like. He says he's dead, but I doubt if that is true.
"Marty," Grandpa calls, "we've got to get breakfast and get on the road."
"Coming." I stand, putting the phone and Bible back in my pocket.
In the car, we head back to Interstate 10 and turn east. "I'm so glad you're getting reacquainted with Jesus. You really loved going to church with your parents when you were little."
"Me, too, Grandpa."
"I saw a church around the corner from your house. It's close enough to walk if your mom and Bruce don't want to go. I know it would take courage to go on your own, but learning God's Word is so important to help you grow in your new faith."
"Yes, Grandma, I will go."
When Mom opens the door, I want to give her a big hug, but spot the telltale yellow-brown her concealer never totally covers, and opt for a gentle kiss on her cheek. "Did you have a good time?"
"Yes. You were right, it was good to get reacquainted with them, and with Jesus."
I knew, when I spotted Bruce glowering from the top of the stairs, that I would need all the courage Jesus could give.
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