Archive | May 2013

Life Goes On

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This morning is a milestone in our family life.  Our daughter graduates from the sixth grade, a rite-of-passage most school systems have eliminated in our modern world. 

In Oklahoma families are reeling from a different life changing event as they recover from the losses associated with devastating tornadoes and flooding.  Lives were lost, including childrens.  Material possessions, entire homes, neighborhoods, precious mementos of lives gone in a brief few minutes of natures destruction.

Even as I write this people of all ages, all over the world are fearful, hungry, devastated, sick, fighting, loving, laughing, crying, living and dying.  Because, life goes on.

When my mother passed I remember thinking, “How can life be moving on?  Why hasn’t the world stopped?  Don’t they understand my mother has died?”

As interconnected as we are with all our technology, our “worlds” are still isolated.  Except, even in these minutes of celebration for our three member family this morning there is a ripple in the water of earthly living. 

I remember the pain of Oklahoma families.  The Boston Marathon Bombing families and friends.  Wars overseas.  Lives gone.  Lives being lived.

“To everything there is a season…a purpose for everything under heaven…”. Ecc. 3:1-8

-Faye

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Hogwash to Whitewash!

Quite some time ago I learned of a movement to eliminate certain phrases in the language “lingo” of churches.  The word “blood”, for example, created a bad impression for a non-Christian coming into the church setting and hearing songs such as “There is Power in the Blood” and “Are You Washed in the Blood?”, it was gross imagery. 

Well, that of course led to ” cleaning up” the events leading to and of Christ’s crucifixion.  Oh, and let’s not mention the old-fashioned words like sin, salvation, repentance, hell or Satan. A little whitewash here, a fudging of reality there, and we could bring a lot more people into the church by just making things more pleasant and pleasing to the ear and mind.

Paul said, in 2 Timothy 4:2-4:“Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”

I can put it much plainer. The time has long begun to pass where mankind has whitewashed our sin stained souls with pleasant thoughts, good intentions, pretty words and “feel good” mentalities.

I’m all for presenting the truth by new methods! I’m so grateful Christian films have finally moved out of the “cheesy” category. I think the use of media, blogs, books, music with drums, guitars and a beat and human videos, puppets and dramas are fantastic. I love to see, sing and create them.

But hogwash to whitewash!

Recently as I’ve twisted and mourned my way through having to go on disability one of the saving events of my peace of mind has been my container garden.  Our back porch is a spot of growth and life, green healthy vegetable and herb plants, colorful flowers and tiny buds of tomatoes, squash and bell peppers. I find enormous satisfaction each day as I water, weed, pinch off dying blooms and leaves in the evidence of my “farm”.  There is a connection with my parents, grandparents and great-grandparents who were gardeners or full fledged farmers.  It’s in my blood to enjoy growing food and flowers.

As is my love of reading, my skin tone, eye and hair color, body size and build, the shape of my face.  I look at my hands and foot and I see my mother.  I look at my eyes and see my father.  I look at my body and face and see my paternal grandmother.  These things, these characteristics, body or heart, are in my blood, in my DNA.

We can’t “clean up” the legacy of our Christian family either.  The crucifixion and the trail and punishments beforehand for Jesus Christ were gory, bloody, inhumane, and it is by every single wound and drop of blood we are forgiven of our sins.  It is by Christ’s sacrifice of Himself and His death and resurrection we are restored to a personal relationship with God, our Creator.

The power, majesty, love, redemption, salvation and eternity are in the blood.. Don’t forget who you are, it’s in your blood because it is by His blood we are grafted into the family of God.

Faye

Living Hope

In my Bible reading this morning I began in 1 Peter, Chapter 1 and the first thing that struck me and kept calling me back was Peter’s use of the phrase “…he has given us new birth into a living hope…”
(1 Peter 1:3b NIV, emphasis mine).

Living Hope! Hope that is ALIVE! Hope that is breathing! Hope that is growing! Hope that keeps going! Living Hope!

Before we realized we would not be able to have biological children I told my husband I wanted to name our son Jackson Hope. My husband objected immediately upon the grounds that the name Hope is feminine. My argument is that Hope should be genderless. His was that I wasn’t using the word hope as a verb but as a noun, a noun that would haunt our son forever. In reality my husband is right. (But doesn’t Jackson Hope just sound beautiful?) It became a mute issue eventually but my point remains the same, HOPE, should have no gender, no boundaries, no economic considerations, no religious affiliation, no ethnicity, HOPE should be HOPE.

Now, hope in what is the question.

Peter tells us that, “In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him: and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter 1:3b-9 NIV)

Our hope is living hope
because Jesus Christ is living. Our hope is living hope because although Jesus offered Himself a sacrifice on the cross at Calvary death could not keep its claim on Him. Jesus Christ defeated death. He rose out of the grave! He set aside the clothes of death, the tears of mourning, the fears of a prophecy unfilled and HE LIVES!

In His living we have hope not only in this life but that beyond this life is eternity in Heaven where we will live with Jesus forever. Regardless how dark our circumstances of this world are we have hope that the world cannot extinguish unless we let it. But even then, it is a hope that can be flamed back into life with the gentlest of breath. Yet it is not hope for or of the things of this world. It is hope that by faith and belief in Jesus we have more than this world to have hope in. We have ETERNITY in HEAVEN in THE PRESENCE OF THE LIVING GOD!

I love this type of hope and I will pray that every reader today or any tomorrow know that hope too. If not, I will point you the following verses in the Holy Scriptures:

  • Romans 1:20-21
  • Romans 3:23
  • Romans 5:8
  • Romans 6:23
  • Romans 10:9-10
  • Romans 10:13
  • Romans 11:36
  • Acts 2:38

Living hope,

-Faye

Poured Out – The Conclusion

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It’s the time of night Rebecca King loves.  At 24 she is the youngest resident at Heaven’s Haven, even with her disabilities that require her to have help for day-to-day living, she finds herself awake often in the hours most residents are asleep.  She is in bed though strangely worn out, as if all her physical energy was drained out of her. The bedside lamp provides a soft warm light in the draped darkness.  Her Bible open on her lap, her notes on the bedside tray, her head laid back and her heart and mind focused on praying.

The visit from her father nearly a month ago has increased her prayers for him.  Sam King was still fighting God, still trapped by booze, bad memories and bad decisions.  But for the first time Rebecca considered the type of offering she’d asked to be before God to help show her father the way to his personal savior, to Jesus.

In her mind she was asking to be poured out, for God to use all of her to show her father how much he needed God.  She’d envisioned herself a clay water pitcher God poured out, emptied, even allowed destroyed. 

The Biblical definition was far different, connected to the fellowship offering it was a drink offering of gratitude as best she could understand. Rebecca wondered if she was learning this too late, but she clung to her to original image.

“Pour me out Lord God! Empty me…reduce me to dust beneath Your feet! I am Yours to command, to use as You will. My father is a bitter, hard-shelled man who cannot love others because he cannot love himself. Show him Your love. O Father I plea with You the Almighty for my daddy’s soul. You know him Lord! You knit him together in his mother’s womb, You set his days on earth, he is one of Your sons and I know You are waiting to welcome Him into Your fold. Someone, You have given Someone the divine appointment of pointing Daddy to You. Someone has the words, the life, the example Daddy needs. Your Word is ready for him to receive, please ready Daddy’s heart. Amen.”

Across town the halfway house where Sam now resided had rules. He didn’t like them but until his parole was over he had to play by the state’s rules which included graduating from the program here. So, since Sam was smart enough to know being here beat prison he played nice.

Curfew was 10:00, unless you worked second or third shift at the fire extinguisher manufacturer. Sam did not. He worked for a landscaper and as exhausting as the work was, Sam often found sleep hard to fall into.

Tomorrow was Saturday and he was off. He planned to sleep as late as he could which meant 8:00 if he wanted to eat before he cut the grass here which was one of his “house chores”.

But images of Becca floated through his mind. Ethan, who had found him in the gazebo when he’d first seen Becca where he’d nearly crawled being unable to outrun himself anymore, had kept his word to Sam. He had driven him to check in with his parole officer then to the halfway house. Now he called Sam regularly but without telling Rebecca because neither man wanted her to know. Sam didn’t want her thinking she got to him. Ethan not wanting to crush her hopes.

Sam turned over. The Bible Ethan had given him lay open. He realized a lot of things. He wanted to turn his mind off. He was none to happy with the realizations. Sam was sick of thinking. What was Becca was doing when she made that offer to God?

No one offered to be on the line like that for someone like him and Sam knew it. No matter how many times Ethan explained it to Sam he couldn’t except it. No matter how many verses in that Bible Sam read it never made sense.

But he willed himself to shut his mind off. He needed some sleep and if he was still awake when his roommate Carson got in from work he’d never get to sleep for the snoring.

The phone ringing woke Ethan at 4:11 in the morning. Instantly awake he answered before the first ring completed. By 4:17 he was backing out of his driveway. Heaven’s Haven was a 12 minute drive from his house, he made it in 5 and just as the ambulance pulled up.

Before the paramedics were out of their doors Ethan was running down the hallway to Rebecca’s room. It seemed as if time slowed as Ethan tried to reach the bed where Rebecca lay while the staff fought to keep her breathing. He didn’t want to know what happened, he just wanted to be close to her.

The paramedics were right behind him and Ethan was shoved aside as the doctor, nurses and the paramedics jostled for room to get to Rebecca.

As a doctor Ethan understood what they were saying. Part of him grasped the physical reasons Rebecca was dying. Another part, the part who was just a man in love with her fought the truth. How could she die? He hadn’t managed to get her to agree to marry him yet.

Ethan stood there, head back, eyes closed praying hard. But the medical reasoning would reveal a massive blood clot had gotten to Rebecca’s heart and stopped her heart.

No one from his family would speak to Sam. His ex-wife and their kids never acknowledging his presence. Only Ethan made any attempt to reach out to Rebecca’s father. Long after the services and the grave had been covered Sam returned to his daughter’s graveside.

He sat down heavily, tears streaming down his face, and in his hands he held a bottle of whiskey. He stared at it, wishing it could speak, wishing it held answers.

Ethan’s voice was hoarse with his own tears. “Sam? Sam, how are you holding up?”

“What was it she asked Him? To pour her out? To pour her out to reach me?”

“Yes Sam.”

“I sure don’t git it. She was a hell of a lot smarter than to ruin her life fer the likes of me. I sure ain’t worth it. No, I sure as hell ain’t.” Sam said through thick veils of tears and years of pain.

At one point Ethan would have agreed but he understood better now. “She loved you Sam.”

“Loved me? Why? I am a rotten no good drunk who never done nothin but hurt her. Hit her and her Mama and the other youngins too. Good god I stomped on her whiles she was a tellin me about God! What kind of man deserves what she offered?

“The same one Jesus died for.” Ethan whispered.

Samuel King twisted the cap off the bottle of cheap rot-gut whiskey and brought it up to his mouth. Then slowly he turned it, lowered his arm and poured it out.

THE END

Call Your Mother

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As the firstborn of our mother’s three children I had the unique experience of having the first and last conversation* with her that she would have with one of us on earth.  Nothing do I recall of that first conversation, andh I imagine it was quite brief. 

I probably asked for a book. I was known to be of a one-track mind back then.

Much I recall about the last conversation though.

We talked about her healing progress.  (She was recovering from surgery on her broken right leg.)

We talked about whether my father was being good to her, taking care of her.

We talked about my still new husband.

Mostly though Mama had called to tell me how engaged she had been in the rough draft of a novel I was writing at the time.  She was anticipating the next chapters and of course, the ending.  I drank in her praise.  My writing was not something I shared with my parents for reasons I won’t go into here and now.  But this had been unique circumstances and share I had and she was not just proud of me, she wanted to know every detail of chapters yet to be written for characters whose fate was yet to be determined.

Had I known a precious few moments after our conversation it was the last we’d share on this side of eternity what would I have changed? What would I have said?

I would have said all the things I found unsaid only minutes later.

I would have asked her how to be a mother.  How to cope with my own health crisis later.  I would have asked her if she had any message for my siblings. 

Mainly though I would have wanted to be assured she knew I loved, respected, admired and respected her.  That I was sorry for the years I ran from God and made her worry.

That there was no lingering resentment in my heart for the years she had to parent me around her own resentment and pain.  I would tell her it didn’t matter. Those years made me stronger and wiser in many ways.

I would not want that conversation to end. 

There were moments left to share.Another grandchild for her to meet.  A thousand and more times I would reach for my phone to call and tell her something.  The same of my siblings.

I would warn her of the bloodclot she would dislodge by moving that broken leg. The clot that went straight to her heart and killed her.

I would have cried with her.

I would have laughed more with her.

I would have cherished every word we said, repeated them so time would not erase them.

I would want to talk about earthly things and relationships and stain removal. I would have fought tooth and nail to not have her pass.

And I would let her go.  For it was not my decision. I did not set the dominos hurling down.

I mourned her passing deeply and still do. But, as much as I miss her today and want her here with me, I know she is just over Jordan, with God. I know that even as those precious last few minutes of her time on earth were ending, the Gates of Heaven were opening.

It is well with both our souls Mama, see you when its time.

Call your mother!

-Faye

*My sister did make it to my parents home before Mama passed and answered her question, “Where are my babies?” But that was all they exchanged.

Motherhood

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The first time I heard our daughter call me Mama she was four-years-old.  We were in a local Mexican restaurant and out of the blue she asked me, “Can I tell you what I want Mama?”

When at first I didn’t acknowledge her request or use of “Mama” she piped up asking me hadn’t I heard what she called me?

At that moment in time she was neither legally my child or foster child.  She was my niece left in our care by my husband’s sister who was away at Army bootcamp.  Yet her heart and mine had been uniquely bonded since we first laid eyes on one another and her choice of Mama by which to call me was tempting to approve.  Still I explained she had a Mommy and we needed to talk it over with her to see if it was okay.  Mommy approved.

Later we’d be asked to adopt this mischievous, darling, dark eyed, curly haired darling nearly five-year-old girl and the answer was yes.  Although we prepared for her biological mother to change her mind she held firm in her decision.  Our daughter made us a forever family when a rather friendly judge legally declared us parents.

Our daughter has called me Mama countless times since that first time, every time echoing back to that Mexican restaurant.  Being her Mama is my sweetest joy and most fearful undertaking.

Now eleven, life is speeding to the teen years no braking and both feet on the gas!  Mama has a new tone in it and the first time our daughter remarked that our silliness was embarrassing her my husband and I looked at each other and he said, “Aww Honey we must be doing our job right!”. Which earned us the first official eye-roll.

I had prayed for a child.  There had been three miscarriages and my heart ached with longing.  My prayers were sweetly and generously answered by a very young woman who bravely realized she couldn’t provide what her daughter needed and when she might be was very questionable. 

Somewhere out there she is the mother to two half-siblings to our daughter and lives with our child’s decision to cut ties with her.  Some day we pray that will change but it really is about what is best for our daughter.

I love being a mother.  Regardless of how motherhood descended upon me.

What’s your motherhood story?

-Faye

Funny Mama Tales

Mother’s Day is approaching and as I think of my own mother, who has been with Jesus for almost 13 years, I enjoy remembering the funny things she did and said. Today, I share a few of them with you. Motherhood needs a good dose of humor I find.

About Growing Older:

Mama always said, “When I get old I want you kids to put me in a nursing home, none of this taking care of me at home business! I’ve got plans for those old folks. Going around and trading out their dentures, wheelchair races, walker marathons…yes, straight to the nursing home for me please!” And she said it with such sincerity and with a twinkle in her eye that we knew she meant it, although I’m not sure either of us would have ever been able to follow her wishes.

Making Bell Pepper Jelly:

Someone at work gave Mama a lot of green bell peppers. Daddy didn’t like any raw vegetables at all, so she decided to make pepper jelly. Halfway through the next to last batch she realized she was going to run out of sugar. So she sent me off to the grocery store with instructions to get five pounds of sugar. My sister was sent with me. An elderly gentlemen pulled out of a parking lot and smashed into us. I called my father who came, helped me handle the police and sent me straight home, no stopping for Mama’s sugar.

Of all the things involved in that series of events Mama was mad over my not getting the sugar! Clearly she was tired, having worked all night and now most of the morning making the pepper jelly, but still we all laughed at how upset she was (later we laughed, not while it was happening) over the sugar! As if I’d had a choice of when the man would cause the accident she said to me, “Couldn’t you have waited to have that man hit you until after you bought the sugar?”

The other funny thing about that whole incident was that not one person, including Mama, would eat pepper jelly. She ended up giving away 12 pints to someone at her job that did.

On Having Animals in the House

We never had many pets growing up. We certainly never had an indoor pet. Mama always told us the good Lord meant for animals to be outside and she wasn’t messing with His plan.

The closest we came was with a beagle mix dog we named Bandit. He was just a puppy, taken from his mother straight to us, and it was still cold outside. Bandit was allowed to remain in a box that was too big for him to get out of during the nighttime. But Bandit, though good at whining for his mother, was unable to bark. Mama decided his mother must not have taught him how to bark so she would. She relished in teaching Bandit how to bark! She was a grown woman barking at Bandit and as silly as it sounds, either Bandit’s barking instinct kicked in or Mama was successful. (But the first time he managed to tip over his box he was banished outside.) Later though when Bandit would “bark too much” Mama would grumble, “I wish I’d never taught that dog to bark!”

Once all of their children moved out of the house my parents got a dog. Shay was a Golden Retriever and Chow mix so she was no little Beagle. Imagine our surprise when our first visits home we were met with the sight of Mama’s dog stretched out in the living room like she owned the place. Shay was an indoor dog until the day she died.

Going the Wrong Way

After dropping me off for classes at the local junior college Mama had to go just down the road to the bank. She had to cross a four lane divided highway. A very busy four lane divided highway. Mama got side tracked thinking about all her errands and she turned right into oncoming traffic. While people honked their car horns and shouted at her she simply proceeded to drive to the next cross over and get back on the right side of the highway. She didn’t normally make such mistakes while driving, and was certainly blessed at that time of the morning especially to not have or cause an accident, but once she got over being mortified by what she’d done she’d found humor in the situation.

Food Funnies

As a child she and her cousin both liked to take either soda crackers or bread and wet the cracker or bread, form it into a doughy ball and eat it. Why they found this to be such a wonderful appetizing food they didn’t even know but they did and Mama laughed every time she retold that story.

As a newlywed my mother decided to make a pot of pinto beans for supper. Now Mama was a straight “A” student for the most part in all of her studies but especially in Home Economics. But, her own mother taught her nothing about cooking and the Home Economics teacher didn’t teach them about cooking dry beans. So anticipating the delight of her new husband Mama put on her beans to cook. They cooked, and they cooked and she could see they weren’t getting done. Frantic and embarrassed, realizing they would not be done for supper, Mama took the pot of beans outside and buried them. She prepared something else for supper, imagining her secret was safe. It was, until a few weeks later when several beans plants grew up at the edge of the garden where Mama had buried her pot of half-cooked pintos! (She did learn to cook dry beans of any variety correctly and it was a stable in our family diet but the pinto beans story was always good for a laugh.)

I’m sure you, my dear Readers, have some funny stories of your own mothers. If you’d care to share, I’d love to laugh along with you!

ROFL,

-Faye

 

 

A Funny Thing Happened…


…on the way to this morning’s blog.

I didn’t sleep well last night, ironically because I couldn’t get a subject off my mind for this blog, so this morning I can’t put two words together.

Strange things are perking in my heart that I’m not ready to share.

My phone seems destined to keep ringing no matter what I need to be doing.

Phase 3 of a reorganization project is staring me dead in the face and I can’t block it out to write.

I need some time in prayer because my heart is all confused.

The foot I don’t have feels like it’s curving up towards the back of the knee of the leg I don’t have and it is a bit painful and a lot distracting.

So…

…new blog tomorrow…

Right now do I nap or organize?

I think I’ll start with the praying!

-Faye

Poured Out – Part 4

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(Previously in Part 1 we learn that Rebecca King, then 14-years old and inspired by the testimony of a deacon in her church, asks God to pour her out like a drink offering if it means bringing her father to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. In Part 2 it is a few years later and Samuel King, Rebecca’s father, terrorizes the local McDonalds arriving to berate his daughter for being late getting home. After becoming physically violent and injuring one person severely Sam is arrested and taken to jail. On his way to jail he remembers his wife was supposed to pick Rebecca up from work and they were going to stop at her mother’s. He blames them both for his behavior and ultimately his imprisonment. In Part 3 Sam has been released from jail due to overcrowding and arriving back in his hometown goes to an address he has for Rebecca. His wife and other family are in an unknown location and his wife has divorced him. He is shocked to discover that Rebecca is not working at Heaven’s Haven but a resident in the nursing facility. Prior to his initial encounter with his daughter he remembers her coming to the jail the night before his sentencing and pleading with him to ask Jesus into his heart. Sam had lost control and actually managed to stomp on his daughter before a guard tased him. Finding his daughter’s room he discovers Rebecca is in a wheelchair and during his taunting a doctor enters and tells Sam that his daughter is in the wheelchair due to her father’s beatings when she was younger. Upon hearing this Sam flees.)

Rebecca looked in anguish at Dr. McGuire as her father turns and flees. “Why did you tell him that?” Rebecca asks the doctor.

“Because someone had to and I knew you wouldn’t.” Dr. McGuire’s voice is stern but softens as he continues to speak. “Oh Bec I knew you would let him continue to taunt and berate you and never speak up for yourself, never tell him that he was the one whose abuse and violence left you unable to walk. And,” he paused before adding, “and I wanted to see if he has any humanity in him left to hurt.”

“It wasn’t your place Ethan. I understand but he is still my father and of course he can be hurt…” Rebecca’s own voice broke, “at least I think he still can. I don’t know what five years in prison has done to him.”

“Doesn’t seem to have softened him any, he looks mean Bec. Every bit as mean and capable of violence as your family has told me.”

Rebecca sat silently for several minutes and Ethan allowed her time to gather her thoughts. He is well aware of how deeply she clings to her belief that God has taken her up on her plea as a teenager that He pour her out like a drink offering if it means her father would come to be a Christian. “Who am I,” Ethan asked himself, “to doubt her faith? Even if I believe she should have done just like her family and left Samuel King and everything connected to him far, far behind?”

Ethan thought back to when he had first met Bec. He was a new doctor, just finishing up his residency at the local university hospital when he heard the staff talking about a young woman in rehab with an amazing positive spirit. Within days it seemed everyone was talking about this young woman and Ethan had found himself strangely drawn to her room, though he had no reason to be, just to meet her. Within minutes he recognized Rebecca King was the real deal. She was a Christian through and through and her faith seemed to ooze out of her, creating an aura people just responded to. He wasn’t her doctor but he became her friend, he wanted to be more.

“Pray with me?” Rebecca asked.

“Always.”

Ethan knelt down and took Rebecca’s hands in his and together they prayed, both praying that Sam King would yet be drawn to Christ, and that they would both find peace and protection from any evil.

When Sam King ran out of the front doors of Heaven’s Haven he had no idea of where he was going. He also was no longer in a physical shape that allowed him to run long without becoming winded so he got no further than half a block before he was panting for breath. Sweat ran down his ashen face and he wondered if he was going to have a heart attack his heart was pounding so hard in his chest. About 10 yards off on the lawn on his left was a gazebo and struggling Sam managed to stumble over to it and up its two steps before sinking to one of the benches along the inside walls.

No matter how much he tried to shut the words of the doctor out of his mind he kept hearing them. Sam had spent a lifetime ignoring the truth about his own self. The more he ran from who he had become, sometimes, the more it seemed to him his reflection was smashed back into his face. Suddenly Sam couldn’t run anymore. He couldn’t physically, five years behind bars with no attempt on his part to strengthen his muscles his body had grown weak. He couldn’t emotionally for anger had fed his cruelty and his belief that everyone around him was the reason his own life didn’t measure up or work out right. Seeing Becca in that wheelchair, her legs stick thin and knowing, in the deepest part of him, that he was the reason.

Tears built up in his eyes and though he wiped them away they kept coming. Sam tried to summon up his usual excuses to fuel his anger to cut off any feelings of tenderness but he failed. Instead he remembered the day at the age of five when he fell off the wagon his family was using to haul in the tobacco crop and had been trampled by the horses pulling the wagon behind the one he’d been on. He’d escaped from the horses’ hoofs but his left wrist had been broken from his fall. He had tried to get up before his father knew what had happened but their neighbor, Mr. Kinney, who had been driving the second wagon had stopped the wagon and been over to him before Sam had been able to get up. Mr. Kinney’s shouts stopped his father’s wagon.

Sam’s Pa had seemed too concerned there in the rutted road that ran along their tobacco fields. He’d thanked Mr. Kinney for helping Sam and he’d asked him to thank God in his prayers that his son hadn’t been killed in the accident. Then he’d lifted Sam up to the wagon seat and urged Mr. McKinney to hurry on with his own wagon to the tobacco barns while he took Sam into the house.

As soon as Mr. Kinney had been out of ear shot Sam’s moments of comfort and caring from his father were over. Spit had flown out of his mouth as he berated Sam for being clumsy, probably daydreaming or sleeping instead of paying attention. Now he’d lose half-an-hour taking his sissy boy to his Mamma for tending to and if he didn’t get the rest of the tobacco crop in it would be all Sam’s fault. Later when he learned Sam had broken his wrist he grabbed Sam by that broken wrist and held him tight as his belt flayed Sam repeatedly. The next morning, moving as quickly as he could Sam had been right there in the tobacco fields helping harvest the tobacco. His broken wrist unset. His back a crisscross pattern of belt welts. The rest of him black and blue from the horses’ feet. But Sam never complained. He knew better.

Sam had ran off when he was twelve and never looked back. His Pa had become a regular lush by then, his body, mind and heart consumed by alcohol. His mother still the silent shadow in his father’s weak light.

He’d had a hard life. He’d had an awful life. There was no denying that truth. Nor was there any denying the truth of his own mistreatment of his own children and even his wife. Sam’s father had left him with a wrist that ached awfully bad in the cold months and was malformed so badly Sam wore long sleeves all the time to hide it. Now Sam had left his daughter unable to walk.

Two shoes stood in Sam’s sight and he followed the legs attached up to see the doctor from Becca’s room. Sam drew in a sharp breath of surprise.

To be continued…