While The Clock Is Still Ticking - CHAPTER 2 | “Forgiveness”

Writer Author  Joshua Mumphrey
Christian Article : Encouragement  - Fiction  No

Christian Author Writer As I pulled the car into the newly paved driveway, it didn’t take any time at all for my eldest son to come jogging out through the front door to assist me with the groceries that I had picked up.

“Hey mom!” He said with a crooked smile and his eyes wide. “Did you get a chance to pick up my favorite afternoon snack?” It was then that I realized his enthusiasm was more for what I had in the grocery bags than actually helping me carry them.

“Of course Jackson,” I assured him. “I’m mom remember? I never forget.”

He let his smile creep across his face nearly ear to ear.

“Before you tear into the sacks would you mind helping me unload them first?” I asked.

“Um, I guess,” he mumbled almost too low for me to hear, sounding a little preoccupied. “I mean, yeah I will mom, no problem.”

We took a few trips into the house and back to the car before I noticed I had left a bag in the buggy of the shopping center parking lot. I was too focused on a phone call with my sister Jenna to even notice what I had done. I told myself, after I was finished chewing her out that I would eventually retrieve the remaining items from the kart that were far too heavy to lift with one hand. Obviously, I didn’t. I had driven off completely frustrated, not even giving the sack of groceries a second thought.

Pausing for a moment staring down into the bottom of the trunk, I ran the conversation with my sister from earlier over again quickly in my head. I felt the anger bubbling over to the surface as my hands clinched into fists at both my sides.

“What do you mean we have expenses that need to be covered?” Jenna yelled from the other end of the phone, her voice blaring though the speaker. “That’s not my problem. I gave all that I can give.”

I sighed with frustration.

“What the heck do you mean?” I questioned her. “We are a family, we are supposed to be there for each other, lend a unconditional hand, meet the need regardless the trouble, regardless the inconvenience. If dad where here, he would be heartbroken, he would be incredibly disappointed in you Jenna, listen to yourself. That money isn’t for your personal profits, it’s was to cover his funeral costs!”
Jena roared with disagreement.

“Now you listen to me Samantha, I don’t owe you or anyone an explanation,” she said sharply, “But I’m going to give you one nevertheless, so that you understand. The money I received from dad’s insurance policy belongs to me and no one else. I paid faithfully for years without missing a single month while all of you went about your lives like every day was promised, not covering the important things like, life after death. I prepared for the future when all of you only took each day at a time.”

I cut her off.

“So you mean to tell me, that with 300 thousand dollars worth of insurance you can’t spare a few thousand bucks to cover a decent tombstone memorial for dad?” I asked her in disbelief. “What kind of daughter are you? No. I don’t think you are a daughter at all, if you were, we wouldn’t be having the same old conversation we always do. It’s been 5 months for goodness sake! Just try and be reasonable and think logically.”

She butted in.

“I’m being completely logical,” she hissed. “The bottom line is that I’m not giving anyone anything. I agreed to pay for dad’s service, the rest us up to the 4 of you. I’m only one person you know? I’m done. Dad is dead, he wouldn’t know what kind of memorial he had even if I bought him the best. He would want what’s best for us.”

I groaned with annoyance and anger.

“How dare you,” I screamed to the top of my lungs. “How dare you say something like that and how dare you call yourself his daughter. It should have been you in that casket instead of dad. You don’t deserve the life that you were allowed to keep and that dad had taken away. It was always about the money with you from the beginning. You didn’t care about dad, you only spent time with him so that he would give you complete control of his estate. You are a very maniacal and sick person. I actually don’t feel anger toward you anymore, I feel pity. You will have to live with this decision and one thing is for certain, you will reap just what you sow. God’s word never lies and His wrath is something we can’t wiggle our way out of regardless how much pull we have.”

Jenna snickered and I continued as if I didn’t hear her.

“You laugh now, but it’s actually not funny,” I told her, “But you know what? You can keep the money if it helps you sleep at night. We don’t need it, God will make a way, He always does.”

She laughed out loud this time.

“There you go with your over religious beliefs again,” she mocked. “Maybe it is best that you trust him because I’m not giving anyone a cent.”

I took a deep breath trying to calm myself before I spoke again.

“I guess your mind is made up,” I said. “I just don’t understand how a family as close as ours once was can be torn apart like a page from a good book. Dad’s death hit our family hard, it did more than tear a single page, it ripped the entire thing from the spine. Can you not see it’s the enemy (Satan) that is pushing us further and further away and what about mom? How do you think she feels? How do you think she’s doing, coping with the passing of her dear husband of 30 years and standing between her children bickering over everything he had that was left behind? How can you honestly say, what you are doing is what he wanted? He wouldn’t want us to fight; he wouldn’t want all of the trouble and animosity in our lives on a daily basis.”

She was silent for a moment.

“Quite frankly, I’m growing tired of your questions Samantha,” she snapped. “I’m the eldest and what I say goes, that’s how it’s always been. I was dad’s favorite and he put me in charge not you, so I think it’s best that we end this conversation before things get said that can’t be taken back.”

I snorted.

“Are you not listening to yourself,” I asked her. “You’ve already said more than enough you can’t take back and what’s most disturbing, you don’t even realize it. As far as I am concerned, you died with dad. You are no longer and never will be my sister. Goodbye.”

The phone disconnected. I held it to my chest as my emotions swelled. I wanted to cry, but not because I was overcome with sadness, but because I was overcome with unbelievable rage. How could she not understand? How could the child that dad cared so much for and took the time to nurture excessively, turn out so, so ignorant!?!?

To this day, I believe she was the death of him. She broke his heart the way a daughter shouldn’t, the way girls do when they disappoint their fathers beyond measure, beyond what his heart could take. If life was in the hands of man and not God, I would have suggested that she killed him, not by her actions but by her words. Words are sharp as swords and cut deep, they pierce straight through to the soul. I know she wasn’t the one who called him home, but I do believe she’s the reason he’s gone. He asked God to take him on his sick bed after Jenna wouldn’t back down and only a few hours later he passed.

I snapped back to reality as my son peaked his head through the front door out to where I was standing.

“Hey mom,” he said. “Are you OK? Jason said he would drop by the store and pick up the groceries you left. I just got off the phone with the store and they said they found them and placed them in the manager’s office upfront.”

I lifted my gaze from into the trunk and looked up in his direction. I mumbled a few words robotically, not exactly for sure if he had heard me.

“Oh really?” I said under my breath. “Tell him thanks.”

He stumbled out of the door towards me barefoot, hoping on the hot asphalt. He knew something wasn’t quite right. Jackson had an unusual ability of feeling his environments. With that said, he always knew when I wasn’t at my best. I sometimes hated it when he got in my head, but I never let him know that though.

“Come on in it’s extremely hot out,” he said grabbing my shoulder with one hand and slamming the trunk with the other. “Are you really OK?”

I hesitated, failing at trying to keep a straight face.

“You know the usual,” I told him regretfully. “Your aunt Jenna is being as difficult as always. It just has me a little stressed.”

His dark eyes stared down at me concerned and I noticed we had stopped midway from the door under the sheltering shadows of a large tree in the yard.

“Mom, you shouldn’t entertain anything that aunt Jenna says, she’s a lost cause, a monster,” he said. “The things she’s done, what she did to granddad, it’s unforgivable.”

I quickly glanced up meeting his eyes.

“Jackson, Jackson,” I reasoned with him. “Everyone deserves grace and forgiveness.”

He glared back into my eyes angrily.

“Yeah, everyone but her,” he blurted out. “She's too far gone to claw her way back. She went over the edge years ago.”

I removed his hand from my shoulder and stepped in front of him. I placed both his hands in mine.

“Sweetheart,” I said softly. “You must remember, I’m not talking about forgiveness from our narrow, human point of view, but from a much larger scope, from a more heavenly perspective. God always forgives and he will no doubt forgive her when she asks. I just pray that she is given grace and enough time to make things right.”

He smiled his usual bright and heartwarming smile that I love so much.

“You know what mom,” he asked not giving me enough time to answer. “You really are a good person, because if you weren’t, there was no way you could take all that you do.”

I let his warm smile rub off on me a little as I relaxed my serious expression.

“None is good, but the father remember?” I told him, “But what does make things easier is having Christ within me, his love within my heart, his words of wisdom and his voice whispering in my ear, his mighty hand clearing the way, making the rough road smooth enough for me to travel. It is not by my will that I forgive, but by his alone.”

The sun had begun to set and that meant that I had spent too much time outside talking, when I should have been inside making dinner. My husband was about to be coming home soon and the table needed to be set, but it actually didn’t bother me one bit. I was happy to have this moment and to share it with my son. He learned something about Gods love he might not have known before and it did seem to melt all my anger and frustration away like ice cream on a hot summer’s day.

As we made it inside, I took one look outside up at the beautiful purple and orangey sky. It reminded me of something, of a truth about God’s will and the things that happen in our lives. Sometimes there are dark days, storms and even sunsets, but regardless, every day brings about something new, something that wasn’t there the day before. The sun may have set on dad’s life, but that doesn’t mean ours has to be over, it doesn’t mean we won’t have sunny skies after. It just means that it was his time to shine in heaven and our time to mourn his loss on earth.

In that moment I came to the realization that I would no longer let the sun go down on my wrath. I would ask my sister for forgiveness for my harsh words and allow God to mend our tattered relationship. Dad was no longer there to hold the family together which was a sad truth to acknowledge, but that didn’t mean we had to fall. It just meant we had to look to a different father, one that resided in heaven and in him would we find the strength we needed to stand.

Memories are meant to be cherished not forgotten.

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State: Texas
Country: United States
Email: joshuamumphrey@aol.com
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