Make haste, O God, to deliver me!
O Lord, make haste to help me!
2 Let them be put to shame and confusion
who seek my life!
Let them be turned back and brought to dishonor
who delight in my hurt!
3 Let them turn back because of their shame
who say, “Aha, Aha!”
4 May all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you!
May those who love your salvation
say evermore, “God is great!”
5 But I am poor and needy;
hasten to me, O God!
You are my help and my deliverer;
O Lord, do not delay!
It's been so long I can tell this story about my Daddy. Without embarrassment. 24 years later.
When my father decided to die, he planned very carefully. Evidently. I was so very shocked to receive the phone call. We had just gone to a new grocery store and as our family of four, with two small boys, left the grocery store - we stood with others to see the most amazing sunset. Brilliant. People were saying it was the most beautiful sunset ever.
The call came that my father, age 62, had died from Cancer not telling anyone. The phone call had yelling. It was really bad.
My parents had been divorced for 9 years and my father had married an "A List" friend of my mother's for 25 years. She decorated the Mayor's Ball. She ran the charity organization that backed the big city Ballet. She actually was opposed to prayer in public and went to Republican local committees to discuss this. Yes. She hired limousines for parties and took friends to tables with ladies who lunch and was reciprocated in kind. Christmas parties had car parkers that truly were not required, but showed so nicely.
Her children were 'out of the house' by the time of their affair and then the marriage, so my brother, age 10, was not invited. In fact, we were once introduced as my father's stepchildren. We were biological. She did ask with determination when my brother would be old enough to come over and mow their lawn since child support was paid. No vacations, no spend the nights, no phone calls.
And so the day of the funeral arrived, and we sat well to the back, no place had been left for his children or ex-wife, his family cousin, or some of their 40 year friends.
My stepmother arrived in a tangerine suit and did the eulogy. Very dramatic. At the end of her telling the crowd, about 400 people, she implied he had taken his own life in dignity for the refusal to be ravaged for cancer. The minister told that his wife had done the same thing. And the funeral was at a funeral parlor, where no cross could be seen. At the end of the main eulogy, my step-mother, threw up her arms in a V for Victory. She was genuinely confused, she had been certain for applause. Looking left and right in her tangerine suit looking for the applause, applause.
My cousin, sitting with us to the back, whispered said, "My God, she expected applause." My mother did agree.
I was so angry and so hurt I could hardly know how to breathe.
About a month later, my mother came to me with the actual photo - not used above - of my step-family holding up infants and all in dress suits with my step-mother glowing in her big, toothy smile with the orange, tangerine suit. I looked at the photo. Handed it back to my mother and said, "What?" She said, "Guess the event." "Looks like a baptism of the infants." "No, it's the after funeral family photo of your father."
It was so bizarre that I started calling people to find out what doctor, what cancer, what was the situation. I'd read a novel called "Wheel of Fortune" by Susan Howatch and I was going to find, ask questions, take names out why my father, my Daddy, had had such a strange send off.
And so for months I asked questions, went back and re-asked questions and pieced together a story of a man in a financial spiral told that dignity was life insurance and death was virtue. And located photos of my father during the last year of his life looking nothing like the man who had been such a good father before drinking became too much fun.
He had had a Very Strange Last Year of his life. I got the autopsy and read that he had a tear on his cheek. I'd seen him at Christmas, uninvited. He had not looked too great polishing things in a large kitchen. Wearing a beige apron with a red lithograph of Spaghetti. He looked afraid which was odd for him. Daddy had always been described as a Social Lion.
And Furious anger burned in me. I got one of the largest law firms in town and I sued the heck out of my step-mother. A divorce contract was unfulfilled about my father's Estate leaving us life insurance to be held all his life. My mother had fought to get us remembered in his will. Mediation was sought to no avail. This would be a long process. It took years. I won. And I got permission from our priest, we were Catholic at the time. I had some very fine reasons to sue her. Step-monster.
“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church,
let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector."
So how do you get over something like that. The fury was about a 60 on a scale of 1 to 10. This utter Hitler's Sister had taken someone I loved the best in this world and ruined him. And held up her tangerine suited arms waving the Nixon V for Victory - "the love of her life". Dear God if that were true, help us all.
I went to Group Therapy. I learned life lessons. I knew I would end a cycle of drinking and lack of communication, alcoholism, and despair. And I was told several times generational changes are hard life work.
And I drove carpool and went to Bible Studies and went to parties and did Garden Club and had luncheons and sometimes I felt like anger could blow my head off my shoulders.
And about six months into that, I was indeed praying furiously. Furiously was the word.
And I said, "Father God, I have reached the place where I am ashamed of this hate. Justified hate and terrible person, but now I am embarrassed because this is Your Child. Poor You, Father God. And I seriously do not know what to say to You. Amen."
I didn't even feel better. But about that time, one day I was driving around enraged and the thought that God gave me was, "Jesus is Living Water." And I longed for summer and swimming pools and children laughing like my very, very happy childhood. And I thought of slides and water and clean and pure.
And suddenly I had an answer. I could pray for Jesus to be Living Water. Every time I was enraged I prayed that. And water, in prayer, flowed over me and each time peace would arrive. Iin a few months, I was not furious.
And so I went back to Father God and said, "Father God, I think you saved my life. Thank You, Jesus is Living Water. Now, I don't even want to say I forgive her and I'd truly like to see her go to hell like a pig on a stake bbq. So what are we going to do with that? Because I have a feeling You Will help me. I loved Daddy. Thank You for taking care of my Daddy. And I have just great gratitude You have done that for Daddy. I will look to see how you help me forgive this dirt who rejoiced he died. Amen."
And you know, I felt ashamed of how much I really hated her. Because she is a human being and I'm saved by Grace. I became embarrassed but only to Father God.
Someone I love very dearly, like an Aunt, talked to me a lot about all of this - she sickened and to eventually die of cancer, fought the good fight and died bravely. She actually did have Cancer and Daddy had not. She was a life long friend to us and she was very Christian and very brave. It became time to make a Donation to the Cancer Society in her final requests. I was supremely grateful for her life. She called me to her house, gave me her loving blessing, right before she'd gone Home to Jesus. She said her last words to me were, "You were a great child to your parents. Always know that. The people who know you, are proud of you. I'm proud of you. Know always I love you."
And I sat down to give a donation, I felt understanding from Father God flow through me and He said, "When you give this check, we know it needs to be small for necessity and because I am in Charge. It will be a double portion. You loved her, nearly your aunt, and you are forgiven for being so angry with something so ugly - a different circumstance with the step-mother. You are forgiven a long time ago. Never let it be said that this came between my child, Anne-Laurel and Her Father God. Always remember your donation today, frees you from all guilt and proclaims you forgive what was truly awful and yet washes away."
I was free. I didn't have to pretend what she had done was right. Didn't have to pretend that she had good qualities. That she wasn't God's Child. She was. God knew on the real day we all see Jesus and have our deeds told back to us and we present our souls - that this was His Business with her. I would be just fine if she found Jesus and repented and all was well. In fact, I didn't need to know or be told the outcome. I was free. Totally free. And later when she was dying, I got a phone call for weeks to get my reaction. And I said my reaction is peace. We never heard from her in life, not in dying, not part of our lives.
We all go to God. I was fine. One Person insisted on mailing me the obituary and I just put that in the trash un-read with the certainty Jesus was handling all of this fine. I'd forgiven and He was in Charge. No hate, no involvement and no judgement was needed from me. God is God and all is capable and loving in His Hands. If Jesus made sure Salvation was her's, then God is Love and that's God. God is Good. This is His Salvation and His decision. My blessing was forgiveness forever. Whatever Word Jesus gave was Good.
This month is the anniversary of my father's death. And I know Jesus is in charge and I will see my father again with great joy and supreme Love.
It shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.
~ Julian of Norwich
Jesus, the Holy Spirit and Your Messenger Angels will come to us, even in our sighs, and the Power of the Most High will be with us in our depths. Jesus will cover us in His Name, the most powerful name in all holiness.
Today and even to our old age, we will see the Marvelous and Wondrous Works of You, God. Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law. He is the Spirit and the Truth.
The Prodigal Son is a process. Father God forgives us immediately and thank You for being a Father who will help His children.
Nothing is impossible with God.
Father we are Your children, born of the Willingness and Word of Father God. Let us live, move, have our being and abide according to Your Good Will and Word.
Let us know the Life within Your Words. Hurry to do the Good Works You have prepared. In this, we will see Great Joy - do live Your Will.
For this we pray for ourselves and loved ones, concerns to find a companion for my mother to continue her gratitude for her home, her life and friends, our hearing and ears. For Edward who won a tournament in DG today and is in great joy. For the people who work hard for elderly parents. And the hope as our futures rise up in our children and grandchildren. Our communities, Church and for this Nation in the grips of this unending election, that 9% are even pleased with. We will vote and pray for Your Favor. Knowing You hear these prayers and answer.
Thank Jesus. Amen.
♔ Lord Jesus Saves! †