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When Comes the Healing?

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Photo original to author, all rights reserved, not to be used without permission.

He was special, there could be no doubt of that, not to anyone.  Yes, this little guy who looked to be sleeping soundly had my heart wrapped around his tiny, puffy finger.  Since the day he came into the world all covered in wet gunk and wailing loudly, he was special.

At first they kept him because he might be sick, but after several days of negative tests his parents had been ready to get him home.  His big sister waited for him, it was time to make the family unit whole and under one roof.  That pretense lasted a few days.  His biological parents marriage was already shattered, the impact of his illness simply gave it breath to implode.

Back to the hospital and he would stay for 60 days, 45 of those in a coma.  The doctors gave him little hope to survive, gave us little hope to bond with our boy. But I made the trek daily, he shouldn’t be alone.

A few hours before work, then five hours at work and another five at his bedside, often going back to work or working beside his bed, sometimes spending the night if he had a bad day.  Those days are a blur in my memory now.  A long tiring, exhausting two months of staying with him as much as possible, whenever possible.

I remember the cocoon like room in Children’s Hospital, the never ceasing beeps and swirling sounds of equipment breathing for him, living for him.  And I remember the day they became quiet and he surprised everyone by living under his own steam.  I recall clearly the kindness of nurses who offered me food and drink, blankets and pillows as I stayed by his side.

I remember the quiet swish of the nurses scrubs as she laid him in my arms and he curled up on my chest and shoulder and slept on for the first time in over 45 days. I remember singing him every song I could recall; silly songs, hymns, praise songs, children’s songs and telling him every story I could remember and dozens and dozens I made up.  I told him about his family and all the possibilities for him in the world.  I told him about ice cream, baseball and Jesus.

He and I waited too.  The staff and I walked around his father’s dirty underwear on the floor and his near empty bag on the sink until I broke down and picked them up, embarrassed by their presence and their message.  It wasn’t my place to be there alone with this precious boy but I was, I was and I wanted to be. 

It wasn’t until weeks had passed that one of the nurses told me how remarkable she and the other staff thought I was for my dedication to my son and my ministry.  Awareness flew in my heart, and I apologized telling her I appreciated the kindness but I wasn’t the mother, I was the aunt. I knew his mother came two or three times a week for brief visits, spoke with doctor’s by phone and waited for her marriage to fail or survive, her son to live or die. The pressure was enormous and too much, it was overwhelming and she did what she had within her to do. Never giving up but watching as what seemed like a nightmare play out before her with her son center stage. That’s a difficult place to be in. I understood that and I willingly made sure our boy didn’t want for company.

Toward the end of 60 days I sat with my sister and heard the grim prognosis…blindness, brain damage, feeding tubes, never speaking or walking.  Their advice was to put him in a home and get on with living.  His mother bravely took him home where she and our family took care of him until he reached the age of 12 and it was impossible to continue. My sister’s life revolved around her son and his needs. She gave everything.

For a while we thought he would prove them totally wrong.  He learned to drink from a bottle, he reached for toys, he responded to sounds, he was behind in development but he was getting there.  But at his first year check-up the bottom fell out again.  That same scenario repeated itself until he was developmentally a two to six month old in a body aging and growing normally.  His brain was destroyed, he lives today, now 19, with less than 5% of his brain stem.  As I write this he is in a different Children’s Hospital, a very sick young man, beating the odds again.

His mom is front and center, caring for her son with deep love and compassion, fighting for him every step of the way.  His dad, his mom’s second husband, watches with pain in his heart as his son lays ill.  His biological father struggles to find his place in his son’s life.  His sisters cringe inside as they soothe and comfort him.  I sit and speak with him and it is me keeping tab by phone this time.

Healing.  We all want that for our precious boy.  Someday he’ll have it. 

Healing now though, ultimate, complete healing I see may be the healing of the wounds and scars of a long ago young marriage gone bad that remain like open and raw pieces of rotten meat. Like the bleeding pieces of two hearts who lost their way in that special first love and never to refind one another, or find some release from pent up anger and pain.

It may be the solidifying of his support system, all of us pulling in the same harness for him, all focused on his best well-being. 

It could be the healing of a heart within a man, more than a stepfather but a true dad in every sense of the word, who bonded with our special child. A heart who knows that this boy is the heart of his heart, soul of his soul just not flesh of his flesh nor bone of his bone but his son all the more. 

Or perhaps the healing of regrets in the heart of a biological father who allowed circumstances to keep a gap between he and his first born children for 17 years. Who struggles, it seems to me, to find a place in his biological sons life.

Only God knows what ultimate healings He has planned for and through this one very special life. Through and because of the life of our special boy…healing is just waiting to be invited in to stay.

Yes, our boy is so special and he still has my heart wrapped around his little finger.

–Faye

The Heart House

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As a young teenager one of the songs I sang with our church choir was “The Secret Place”.  The lyrics describe ones heart as being like a house where Jesus comes in and visits with you in the many rooms.  Except for that one room where you keep the door closed, hidden from prying eyes, even Jesus’ you imagine.  Then of course, as He has always known of it being there, He points it out and you know, ready or not, the two of you are about to enter that room.  In the chorus Jesus hands you the key “with tears of love on His face He said I want to make you free, let me go in your secret place”.

It is a beautiful song and the image of my heart being like a house has stayed with me through these many years.  What began as a teenage “what if” picturing in my mind has become a more solid picture in my adult mind.  Through the years as I’ve matured and learned what the important things in life are truly about the house I imagined in my heart has changed.  Gone is the two story white country home with airy sheer curtains blowing out the windows and rockers on the front porch.  Gone is the log cabin in the mountains with its lake view and long pier.  In their place has come a round rock home, not very big but solidly built to withstand life’s storms.  A place of retreat, of quiet, of reflection, of visiting with God and a place to create.

After my amputation I would seek the comfort of this heart house but it ceased being that for no longer could I climb the stairs to the domed observation porch, or to the second floor library where I had long imagined myself seeking and finding time alone with God.  I didn’t have the energy, spiritually or emotionally, to spare to renovate my heart house.  So it has stood neglected in my heart, the memory of it covered over in my mind.  It has been counted as a tally mark on the scoreboard of things I’ve lost in the last two and a half years.

Yet recently the thought of my house has crept into my subconscious and I’ve awaken feeling an aching loss and grief for this piece of my spiritual life.  For over the years, this image, though just an image in my mind of a house where Jesus and I lived and visited; where I sought shelter from the ugliness in life and the pain associated with it has come to mean a lot to me.  Even when I would go to create something crafty, paint a picture, write a poem, or work again on that novel this is the place from within me that those things came.  I worshipped in this heart house…I sang…I praised…and I sought and found the presence of Jesus there.

Then I drew the image as best as my limited abilities would allow as I’ve seen it these last 20 years, an outside view only I found myself adding a room on the ground floor and an entrance not there before on the other side.  It finally occurred to me, I didn’t need to forsake my heart house for I only need to renovate it!

So, over the next few weeks my heart house is under renovation!  Foremost I am keeping in mind that this is the place Jesus and I will meet on a daily basis whether I literally image it or not and I have all intention of rolling through with Him by my side to make the renovation decisions!

Perhaps it is a silly leftover from adolescence this heart house of mine.  Perhaps not.  Regardless it is important to me.  Is it possible you too have a house in your heart where Jesus waits for you to visit?  A room you’ve locked away because you’re ashamed of what it contains, the hurts are too great to acknowledge, the scars too tender to be observed?  Jesus has the key, He already knows the contents of that room, and He stands at the door with the key in the palm of His nail scarred hand outstretched to you.  Will you take it?  Will you let Him set you free?  Let Him help you turn that room into something beautiful?

Under renovation!

_Faye

The Station, Part 2

“So you’re beginning to understand this station Miss Ace! Care to explain?” Albert asked.

“You already know Mr. Albert but this is like a central station, people come here with and without tickets already. So some are just making their decisions and some are here, like me, to redeem their tickets.” Ace replied, looking at Mr. Albert seriously.

“Very good Ace. Very good indeed. Does this mean you have no more questions for me?”

Ace smiled, “Now you’re being awfully silly! You know I ALWAYS have questions. Like, what about those people who keep darting in and out? What are they doing?”

“Those are the ones who know they need to get a ticket but keep waiting until the last possible minute. Some are sure they can never live up to the standards they imagine are necessary to make this trip. Some want to be sure they wring every possible moment of worldly fun out of life before making the decision. All of them just keep putting it off for one reason or another.” Albert tried to hide a sigh from his young charge.

“The ones who keep glancing in but never really turning their heads as they walk by, who are they?” Was Ace’s next inquiry.

“Those are the ones who can’t help but be curious but whose minds just won’t allow them to accept things as they are, they want things complex and puzzling so they can boast they have figured out the secret to life. They keep glancing in because a part of them knows the truth but the larger part just can’t accept it yet.” Albert answered. “We’re happy when most of them eventually make the decision to come on in.”

“Those men and women on the steps who keep calling out to the people, why are part of them saying, “Come on! Hurry up time is short!” and the others saying, “Don’t worry, it’s still a long way from pulling in!” Ace asked next.

“Those would be the truth tellers and the deceivers. Can you tell me which group is which?” It was Albert asking the questions now.

“Oh yes! The truth tellers are the ones telling people to hurry for there’s not a lot of time left to decide. The deceivers keep assuring everyone they have plenty of time so people feel safe in putting off their decisions.” Ace replied seriously.

“You are very smart for an 8-year-old Ace.”

“Thank you.” Ace paused, looking around and then staring at another group of people before asking her new friend another question, “Mr. Albert what is wrong with that group of people? The ones standing there holding their boarding passes but instead of moving into a line they keep looking and shaking their heads?”

“Those my dear one, are people who made the decision to take this trip, got their tickets and now can’t believe it’s good.”

Ace giggled, “Why that’s silly! Didn’t they want the ticket to begin with?”

“We will help everyone, we’ll have it sorted out shortly.” Albert pointed out a line of people in uniform like him and smiled as he said to Ace, “Speaking of help, it looks like some of my team members have their hands full with a load of babies this morning.” Albert pointed to a group of men and women of all ages, shapes, sizes and colors who were strolling right into the station and onto the train platform, each with one if not two babies safe in their arms. “Those are the youngest and the most innocent they never have to decide they are too young.”

“Mr. Albert, where did they get all those babies?”

For a brief moment Mr. Albert’s smile faded as he replied, “Ace you know that sometimes, no matter how much a child is wanted and loved it is called home. Some of those babies are babies just like that.”

“The others?” Ace looked up a quiet knowing in her eyes.

“Those are the ones who weren’t wanted.”

“No Mr. Albert, they were wanted, just not by the mommies who had them in their tummies. Plus, God wants them. God wants us all!”

Ace looked around her, absorbing the scene. She’d never seen such a diverse group of people before. Old people, babies, young children and every age in between. There were skin tones she’d never seen in real life and a mix of males and females. Some people looked poor and others looked rich. Some looked relieved and some looked frightened.

“Come along now Ace, your train is approaching, you’re too go with the group with all the babies. Maybe you can hold one!” Albert remarked, pulling Ace to her feet and moving with her pass the platform gate to the group of men and women holding the many babies.

“Oh!” Ace stopped and stared as a group of people looking very sad on the other side of the platform caught her eye. “Oh Albert are those…” her question trailing off.

“Yes Ace. They are.”

Ace knew those were the ones who made the wrong decision and now their journey would take them to a most different destination. But she knew it was not her place to judge the final destination of anyone even though it certainly looked like it was a group who were now headed far from the presence of the Almighty.

“Albert, will I see you again?” Ace asked suddenly as the train pulled into the station and was slowing down to stop so the passengers could board.

“Most definitely! Now, you go on, lots of people are waiting for you as well as Our Father!” Albert joyfully replied. Putting her hand in the hand of the conductor who would help her aboard the Express.

The train pulled away and Albert waved and smiled as he watched through the windows of the car where Ace had settled. Indeed she had offered to help with one of the babies. Albert knew they would be to the next gate in no time at all.

“In no time at all Daddy?” Ace asked her daddy. She lay in a hospital bed with IV’s, monitors and oxygen attached to her, machines trying to make her comfortable, like the medicine they’d given her that made the pain seem far away.

Through his tears Ace’s dad spoke, his voice choked with tears. “In no time at all Baby.”

Ace’s mommy stood behind her husband and tears streamed down her cheeks unrestrained. “I’m glad you told us…about…where you’re going Candace…”

“You can come too Mommy.”

“I know and I will. Are you hurting sweetheart?”

But Ace didn’t answer, it seemed her parents were fading away and with them a light was filling the room. There were shadows in the light before they came into focus and Ace could see she was looking in the door of the station.

She was going home in no time at all.

The End

Losing a child at any age is heart wrenching to parents. Ace is a fictional character, as are all the people in this story. But the reality of not putting off the decision about your eternal home is very real.

-Faye

 

The Station, Part 1

A young girl of 8-years-of-age stood patiently in the line at the train terminal. She had the reddest hair of any red head ever, milky white skin, large green eyes and a face full of freckles. Her body was tiny beneath her favorite jeans and bubblegum pink sweatshirt bearing the slogan, “I’m the daughter of a king!” Her feet were clad in pink cowboy boots that had received more than the usual wear. Her name was Candace Victoria Lyle, though she much preferred the name Ace which is the nickname her father used for her. It was her vivid red hair that drew the attention of the gentleman in charge at the head of the line and his twinkling blue eyes smiled as she tried to wait patiently. For an 8-year-old she did well.

“Good morning Miss, do you have your boarding pass?” The white haired gentleman asked Ace as she reached the head of his line.

“Yes Sir, right here!” She replied, proudly pulling it out of her back pocket of her jeans. “I’ve been carrying it for ages!”

A glance told the gentleman she was right, she had been carrying it since she was 5-years, 4-months and 22-days old, which for an 8-year-old like Ace, was ages! “Why so you have!”

“I like you!” Ace announced. “I like this station too! But there is sure a lot of people coming and going and some staying to catch a train while others hurry on. And why does that group of people have so many suitcases? And those people over there sure look confused, do you know why? What about…” Her questions were cut off gently by the man.

“I tell you what Miss Ace it’s time I took a break so what do you say if we sit down over here and I’ll answer as many of your questions as I can? Your train is still a little bit out so we have time.” The gentleman offered.

His suggestion was met with enthusiasm and Ace took his hand and answered, “Okay by me!”

So the pair, looking like grandfather and granddaughter took a seat on a long wooden bench right behind the rail separating the train platforms from the ticket area. The man’s name was Albert and besides his twinkling blue eyes peering out of his remarkably unlined face his hair was a white as the snow-capped Alps and his body as fit as Ace’s father who worked out and jogged an hour every day so he was lean as well as tall. He’d been on duty at this station for longer than most could imagine.

“Now let’s see if we can relieve you of some of those burning questions Miss Ace! What would you like to ask first? My name perhaps?” Albert asked, his smile teasing his young charge.

Ace’s green eyes grew large as she replied, “How’d you know that’s what I was going to ask first?”

Albert continued to smile as he answered, “I just knew! And my name is Albert.”

“Well that’s a very fine name and it starts with an A like mine does! Why are there so many people coming and going out of the big doors but so few in your line?” Ace asked, looking over to where a young woman stood now, covering for Albert’s break.

“Oh people come and go sometimes more times than they can count before making a decision.”

“Doesn’t anybody tell them how important it is to decide? My Daddy said it was the most important decision I’d ever make and he and Mommy didn’t think I could decide when I was five but I could and I did.” Then she lowered her voice to a whisper, “I’m not sure they know where I am though. I made the decision while they were asleep and they didn’t believe me when I told them the next morning. Mommy said we’d talk about it when I got older.”

Albert took her hand again in his and smile reassuring as he spoke, “I’m sure that they know Ace. You don’t have to worry.”

“Oh, I’m not worried! I want to be because I don’t want to worry them but it’s hard to worry once you get here.” The red-haired miss explained, her entire body seeming to bounce with energy. “Now, please tell me why those people can’t decide to come in or not?”

“Not everyone makes the decision easily Ace. No, no some people analyze it and agonize over it. Others believe its necessary one minute and a fabrication the next. Some are scared of what other people will think. Others are so busy living inside their heads they just refuse to even consider coming in. Humanity is a complicated bunch of people you know.” Albert explained, watching Ace’s face as he spoke.

“Hmmm…so what’s up with that bunch over there with all the luggage?”

Albert laughed, “That’s the group who just can’t believe they don’t need to take something with them! See the woman with the fur coat on and the bright red suitcases?”

“The one who is sweaty in that fur?”

Again Albert laughed, “Yes, that one. Would you like to know what’s in her suitcases?”

“You know?” Ace looked impressed with her new friend’s knowledge.

“Dolls. You know those collector dolls like your Aunt Ginger has you can’t play with when you go over?”

“Those ones she says are antique or going to be worth lots of money someday?” The fact Albert knew about Aunt Ginger and her dolls didn’t seem to faze Ace, it seemed perfectly normal.

“The very ones. She can’t bear the thought of parting from them. They were very much like her children but they aren’t allowed on the train and she’s having a hard time leaving without them.” Albert explained.

Ace looked thoughtful, “That’s very sad. I wonder why she thought of a bunch of dolls as her children, didn’t she have real live children?”

“She did but they weren’t very attentive so she replaced them, in a way, with the dolls.”

“Poor woman! Will someone explain things to her?” But even as she spoke a dark skinned young man approached the woman and gestured her into his office, offering to pull the suitcases himself.

“That’s Omar and he’s going to talk to her right now. Omar has a way with people I bet she understands soon.”

Ace nodded in agreement then looked around some more. “I think I’m beginning to get this place Mr. Albert! I think I’m beginning to understand how it works!”

Join me tomorrow for the conclusion of The Station with Part 2.

-Faye

RIP a Legacy

The group of three siblings, two men and one woman, sat across from the lawyer, realtor and the owner of the chicken ranches purchasing the property soberly. The lawyer explained paper after paper, form after form and someone, properly his paralegal or secretary had thoughtfully flagged each place their signatures were required. Each sibling had a pen ready in hand to sign, two in their right hands, one in their left. One of the first indications th
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ough siblings, they were not completely alike.

The oldest, Clint was only older by a year from his sister, Leigh, but they were evenly matched in how their bodies were handling the approach of their 50’s. Clint stood 5’7 and Leigh 5’4. Both their hands showed the signs of the arthritis they would be plagued with in the years ahead, a genetic gift of their father though their hands themselves physically resembled their mothers. Though both palms showed hardened pads and toughen up skin indicating they were capable of and did some manual labor it was clear also they didn’t earn their living that way. They were close enough in age, just under a year apart, to be twins. Both had dark hair but Leigh’s eyes were dark brown like their father, while Clint’s behind the colored contacts he wore to make them match were one blue and one green. A physical trait that closely came to match their mother’s grey eyes. Both bodies showed evidence of their having been heavier but they were now only stereotypically the body type of a person approaching the downside of middle age. Clint was left-handed and as usual, seriously attentive to each word spoken and each paper signed. Leigh glanced frequently at both brothers. She was the peacemaker, the mother hen and the one in a wheelchair, the legs under the table crooked and useless.

The youngest sibling, Timothy, was thin and a near carbon copy of their father. He was 6’6 with a hard body that showed physical toil. His hands were larger, rougher, the hands of a man who worked hard with them for a living. He was in his early 30’s and the pen in his right hand was gripped tightly. So tightly in fact Leigh worried he would break it at any second. Anger seemed to radiate from him in visual spirals. His dark hair was already receding from his wide forehead and the top of the back of his head already showing a bald spot approximately the size of a half-dollar coin. Tim was a farmer and a one of the few full time farmers left in the county.

It only took about twenty minutes to finish the paperwork and the lawyer passed them their checks, everyone shook hands and the group filed out. The siblings moved out into the parking lot and by unsaid agreement settled into Leigh’s van. No one wanted to part, their times together were few these days for they were scattered across the state now. Tim, was the first to break the small talk with the obvious.

“Guess this is it then.”

Leigh glanced at him in the rearview mirror, “The last bit of physical evidence he was here, except for us.”

Clint sighed, “Yes and notice only Leigh had children and they won’t carry on his name.”

“He was a real piece of work. And this is what we have to show for it, a lousy $4000, Leigh’s handicapped forever, Clint’s off at the end of the state and I’m busting my tail to earn a living on the farm.” Tim punched his palm.

“Guys we have to handle this for our own best. We are what we make of ourselves.” Leigh offered.

Silence fell over the three again. Then Tim sighed, “I just don’t get it. Why did he hate us? What is so great about his other family? Rex is in and out of rehab and has been for as long as we’ve known him. Terri’s been married four times, in competition with her mother. Dana and her brood and her alcoholic husband…and then their black widow mother…he loved them! Them! Not his own sons and daughter. Not his wife!”

“It was his choice Tim.” Clint offered.

“A lousy one!” Tim countered.

Again the silence fell. Then almost as if a signal had been given the three let out a deep sigh.

“All the physical things that bound us to him are over. That little patch of pine laden earth passes on to someone else.” Leigh remarked. “What’s more,” she continued, “we’re correcting the worst of his sins in our own way. We’re not passing on his parenting to someone else, his evil is buried with him.”

“You know how when someone dies people bring in food and gather in the home, talking about the recently departed?” Tim quipped.

“Your way of saying let’s go eat lunch?” Clint chuckled.

“My way of saying let’s have a decent meal, cash our checks and move on.”

“Chinese?” Leigh offered, starting the van’s engine.

“That’s fine.” The brothers agreed.

As the van was pulled into the traffic headed east, Leigh spoke the final words the siblings would speak that day about the man they grew up calling, “Daddy”. “He sure wasn’t a Psalm 1 father was he?”

Again the three nodded in agreement.

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

Pouring Out – Part 3

Earlier in Part 2:  Rebecca Kings father, Samuel is on his way to jail after a violent incident at the McDonald’s where his daughter works.  He injured three employees and terrorized patrons.  On his way to jail he remembered his wife was picking Becca up.  He vowed they would both pay.

From Part 1:  Rebecca asks God to pour her out as a drink offering to get her father’s attention and bring him salvation.

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Part 3:
Samuel King served five years for his outburst in that fast food restaurant.  The district attorney charged him with many things but what earned him a ten year sentence was nearly causing the death of an employee he had knocked out and who hit her head on the stainless steel counter.

Overcrowded jails earned him early release, not his behavior.  He walked off the bus and looked around the town that had grown since he last saw it.  Sam King looked for no greeting committee.

His wife had divorced him as soon as his sentence was announced.  She’d taken the kids and moved, leaving no forwarding address.  After bugging her parents he’d spent three months in solitary and was forbidden to contact them.  He learned through his lousy attorney they had both died within a year of one another four years ago.

Becca was the only one Samuel had any idea of where she was and he was headed there first.  She still owed her father something.  If not for her he’d never been in that McDonald’s, she and her mother had been late and Sam had been sure Becca had been with some trashy boy. 

Well, he’d surprise his daughter today.  He had her address.  He was going there as soon as a bus could get him there.

Sam figured he had her work address when he found Heavenly Haven two blocks from the bus stop.  He walked through automatic doors and stalked up to the receptionist.  When she asked his name he lied and gave his oldest sons name.  The receptionist handed him a pass and told him he wanted room 117.

Forbidden he remembered the night before his sentencing.  Rebecca had come to the jail and pleaded with him to “ask Jesus into his heart” and before the guards could stop him he’d knocked Becca out of her chair and started stomping on her.  He was sure he’d heard bone break before one of three guards had tased him.  They told him later his daughter had been taken by ambulance to the emergency room.

The next day his lawyer had been furious with him as had the judge.  There had been no mercy.  Sam hadn’t heard a word they said about Becca’s condition, he’d been to mad at her for crying at the hospital getting everyone mad at him.

Now Sam’s footsteps stopped outside room 117 and he figured his daughter was tending to some old coot.  Boldly he swung the door open. 

Before he said a word the woman in the wheelchair turned around.  Sam saw but couldn’t comprehend. 

Rebecca spoke first, “Daddy!  You’re out!”

“Yeah.”. He muttered.

“Well come in and sit down.” She offered him one of the rooms chairs.

“Thought you worked here.”

Slowly Rebecca met his eyes, “No.  I moved here when Mom couldn’t care for me at home anymore, about four years ago.”

“What did this to you?  Wreck?”

“Accident of sorts, he didn’t mean for it to, I’m sure.”. Rebecca turned half away.

“Got yourself mixed up with some no account…” but his words were interrupted by a doctor coming into the room.

“Rebecca had the great misfortune of being beaten and having her spine severed.  Unfortunately she had no choice in having this man in her life.”

Sam rolled his eyes.  “Husband huh?  Forgot your place?” He sneered.

All the blood drain from his head at the doctors next words despite his daughter trying to stop him.  “No, her no account father did this.”

Sam turned an ran.

To be continued.

-Faye

Pouring Out – Part 2

Samuel King stood 6’4 in his worn jeans, long-sleeved dark blue work shirt with his long weathered face crowned by a greasy black hair comb over, eyes as black as his hair and his 283 pounds was solid from years of manual labor.  His feet were planted a foot apart shod in cowboy boots caked in so much grease, mud and red Georgia clay that the color was hard pressed to be named.  He towered like an angry thundercloud in the front counter area of McDonald’s, totally out-of-place among the bright yellow, white and red decor.  Sam didn’t care.  He didn’t care that he didn’t fit in, he didn’t care that people were moving as far away from him as he could and he didn’t care that the 21-year-old red-haired frail looking manager was telling him that he had to leave.

“Shut up, I ain’t leavin’ ‘til Becca gits on home.”  The man shouted, blasting spittle on the managers head.

Kevin Engle was the youngest manager McDonald’s had in this restaurant and he was frantically wishing one of the other managers was on duty instead of him.  He was rightfully frightened by Sam King and suddenly aware of why Rebecca King worried when he switched her shifts or had her work late.  She had tried to explain that her father was difficult and didn’t understand she couldn’t always get off right on time or had to work a different shift than expected.  Kevin remembered her request to use the phone one more time during the last hour of her delayed departure and his own refusal to allow her.  Well, tomorrow, Kevin decided, tomorrow Rebecca’s difficult father wouldn’t be his issue anymore because he had all intentions of letting her go.

“Sir, you can’t act…” but that was as far as Kevin’s quaking voice got as tried to regain some of his authority.  Sam’s large baseball size hand reached out from the end of his leg sized arm, seized Kevin by the collar of his uniform and tossed him aside.  Before anyone could react he had swept over the front counter, uncaring of the displays he knocked down and landed beside the terrified cashiers.  “Becca!  Becca you best be gittin on out here girl ‘cause when I find you you are in for one more whoppin’!”

Kevin recovered enough to scramble to his feet and he shot out of the restaurant with a speed the coach would have admired as he ran for the fire station less than a football field away.  When he burst into the bay, panting and panicked the firemen had a hard time understanding what Kevin’s emergency was but once they heard the name of Sam King they knew it was trouble.  One of them called the police while three others went back with Kevin to McDonald’s.  Maybe they could calm Sam down although not one of them believed it possible.

Hanging back Kevin let the firemen go in first, feeling braver standing behind them than in the lead.  The customers had cleared out and so had the employees except for the ones Sam had either pushed down or knocked out.  One was laid out visible just beneath the swinging gate leading to the back of the counters, another midway down the aisle at the grill.  Sam could be heard still calling and threatening his daughter somewhere in the back, his curses loud and ugly.

One of the firemen used his walkie-talkie to request for paramedics and the other two went to help the victims.  Leaving the walkie-talkie fireman to also deal with Sam.  “Anything back there like a gun or knives?” he asked Kevin.

Kevin’s negative response helped the fireman quickly decide to wait for the police unless Sam became a threat to someone instead of property.  Already in the distance police sirens were heard.

Sam King slammed out of the McDonald’s back door and walked right into the path of Officer Macon who had his gun out and aimed.  He was subdued after only a little resistance and handcuffed before being left in the back of the patrol car.  His anger seethed within him and he added the weight of the last half hour’s events into Becca’s account.  Although some might think him to be illiterate he was shrewd.  He knew he could not afford to allow anger to pour from him now, he would wait until he had Becca in hand before venting that, but it was hard to pull himself back into control.

Twenty minutes later on the way to the police station Sam remembered that his wife was responsible for taking Becca to and from work today and he had the impression Martha had told him something about needing to stop at her mother’s to help her with something or the other.  That meant the reason Becca wasn’t home yet was because her mother had made that extra stop.  That was okay, Sam reasoned, then they would both pay.  They would both pay dearly.

To be continued…

Pouring Out

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The dwelling was dark and only the loud and drawn out snores of her father broke the night’s silence.  It was an hour and twelve minutes before the 2:13 train would come squealing by the mobile home park.  Inside this double-wide, four bedroom home only one person was awake.  The snores of her father weren’t what kept her up, her eyes staring at the ceiling, her thoughts churning like an washing machine.  No, it was a new awareness brought forth by one man’s testimony at church that night.

Brother Cade had once been one of the community drunks, he had even often struck his wife in his intoxicated rages.  Then his own son had stood before him, his then fourteen-year-old son, with a promising baseball future but who had a zeal for the Lord had confronted his father’s sin.  Carlton had reproached his father in love but with equal truth.  Brother Cade had refused to admit he listened, had shoved Carlton against the living room wall, and tried even to punch him in the face, missing only in his impaired condition.

Carlton had looked his father right in his eyes with tears sliding down his face and said, “I am praying for you Dad.  I love you.  I can’t be a silent witness to you wrecking your own life.  I won’t let you continue to hit Mom.  So you can hit me.  I will be the one waiting for you to make it home, you can take your anger out on me instead.  But I will always be praying for you.  Always hoping God will get through to you, even if it means taking my life to open your heart, I will ask God to do as He wills.  Mom and Mindy are praying too.”

That summer, only five months later, Brother Cade had been drinking and should never have been behind the wheel of his Ford truck as he weaved the truck toward home.  Carlton and his mother and younger sister Mindy had been returning from an away baseball game in the family station wagon.  Mindy had been asleep so she never knew before the accident that it was her father’s truck that sped through the red light toward them.  But Brother Cade had seen his wife and son’s face, they had known it was him as the two vehicles smashed into one another.  The truck had slammed the station wagon into the brick retaining wall of the park. 

In a few moments Brother Cade nearly lost his wife, his son and his daughter.  He remembered Carlton’s confrontation, his promise to ask God to open his dad’s heart even if it meant his own life.  It almost had.

Brother Cade found God that night by the side of the road in the midst of the swirling police, fire and rescue lights and controlled frenzy.  Carlton would never play baseball again he had been paralyzed from the waist down.  Mindy was spared major injury but bore a scar across her lovely face.  Their mother, Karen, had been unconscious for two weeks from head trauma. 

Brother Cade had looked at the young people and told them to never discount what God might do through them.  Carlton had been the way God got Brother Cade’s attention, for he had dared to tell his father the truth, present the gospel and offer himself as a sacrifice for his dad’s salvation.

Now in the darkness another young person pleaded for God to use her to reach the heart of another lost father.  Her prayers were silent but they were heard by the One who they were meant to be heard by. 

“Pour me out Lord, empty me, just don’t let Daddy die without You.  Use me as You will Abba Father.” She prayed as sleep claimed her at last.

The 2:13 train was right on time and as the last of its bumping, grinding and squealing died away all the residents of the green and white double-wide finally slept.  No one knew yet how the then fourteen-year-old daughter’s prayers would be answered.

To be continued…

Who Am I? (A Guest Post Story by My Daughter)

This story was written by my daughter.  On her own initiative she decided to make her writing project for her 6th grade Language Arts a story about adoption.

She graciously agreed to allow me to post it on fvbf (Faith View by Faye) to help bring awareness to the need for adoptive parents.

The story of our adoption of her will be part of the overall focus of National Adoption Awareness Month during November 2012.

…FROM CHAPTER 3

When she picked it up she noticed it had pencil sized holes on the lid.  Could they be air holes?  Bella was confused.  She carefully untied the ribbon, lifted the lid and…

??????

CHAPTER 4

…a KITTEN!

“Awww…it’s just so adorable!” Bella squealed.  The kitten hopped out of the box and Bella could see it was a calico kitten.  Its ears were a light shade of orange, her nose was pink and twitchy, her eyes big and green.  Its paws were white and as was the underside of her body but the rest of her was varying shades of tan, and near orange.  The very tip of its tail was white too.

Bella thought the kitten looked like it was smiling.  “I’ll name you Butterscotch!”  Bella exclaimed.  “I think it is a perfect name for a calico kitten.”

Her new parents came into her room and asked, “Well?  Do you like her?”

“Oh yes!  Thank you!  I named her Butterscotch!”

“What a lovely name you’ve given your kitten Bella.” Bella’s mother, whose name was Sondra, said.

Bella looked up at her new parents and spoke her thoughts aloud.  “What should I name you?”

“You could call me Jason.”  Her new dad said.

“And I guess you can call me Sondra,” said her new mom, “We will work it out.”

“No, I think I will call you Mama and Daddy.” Bella said, petting Butterscotch who was nestled in her lap.  “I think Butterscotch is hungry, and so am I, may I give her half of my ham sandwich and some warm milk?”

“Of course,” her Dad said, “but we did buy Butterscotch some special kitten food.”

“Okay,” Bella answered.  “Which way to the kitchen?”  Her laughter rang out as Butterscotch gave her sandpapery kisses.

Three years later and Bella was seven years old now.  Butterscotch had given birth to one perfect kitten, that looked just like her mom, but Butterscotch died soon after.  Bella kept the new kitten and named her Buttercup.  She and her parents buried Butterscotch in the backyard the next day and had a funeral.