A Love From Above….
After the church service, Denise received many hugs and welcomes to the family of God, Nana and Papa being the first, since they were nearby. Denise knew that she had made them very happy with her decision, but especially because it was genuine, not just for them.
Todd was waiting for Denise and his maternal grandparents, as they eventually made their way to the Church door. Denise thought Todd was acting a little strange, almost embarrassed, as he greeted her, Nana and Papa.
“Y’all gonna come to my ballgame Thursday night? You oughta come see me play. I’ve been doing real good!” Todd said eagerly. “And so far, we’ve won more games than all the other teams!”
“I’d like that, son”. Papa said, squeezing the back of Todd’s neck affectionately. “What time does it start, and where’s it at?”
As the details were given, all agreed it would be a good outing, and plans were made to watch the All Star Game ‘of the century’ as Todd had jokingly described the last, and probably most difficult game they would play this year.
Denise visited briefly with Grandma and Grandpa Whitaker while waiting to go home. Eventually. Nana and Papa were in Denise’s little lavender VW, with the top down, Denise’s heart light, and carefree, enjoying the newness of life her committment had brought.
Still, there were unanswered questions lurking in her mind. Who was her real mother? Would she ever know for sure? Did anyone know anymore than she did about the reason for her adoption? Bravely, she decided to try to find out.
“Nana, do you know anything at all about my biological mother, or why I was given up for adoption? It really doesn’t matter, you know. I’ll always love Mom and Dad as my real parents, but I wonder about it a lot.”
“I really don’t know much to tell you, Hon, but I figured one day you’d want to know. Are you thinking you’d want to look up your biological mother? You’d really need to talk with your Mom and Dad before you do that.”
“Not really, I just would like to know the reason she gave me up. You know, if she just didn’t want a baby, or if she gave me up for my sake. It’s not really that important to me.” Denise was careful not to give any clues about her suspicions.
“Well, let’s see. I think they said that your mother was very young when you were born, too young to take responsibility for you. I think her family was rather poor. I believe you were given up in order for you to have a good life, out of love, from what I understand. I do know that the story was that she had been raped. I hope you don’t let that upset you. Maybe I shouldn’t have told you that part, Hon.”
“No, Nana, don’t worry about that. It won’t bother me. I’m glad you told me. It helps even to know that much. I’ve been wondering a long time.”
Determined to keep her suspicions to herself, Denise began evaluating the possibilities. Of course, there were bound to be other young women who were raped, became pregnant, gave birth to baby girls, and placed them for adoption, but the same birthday? That was just too coincidental! Denise was already 99% sure that Joanie Weston was her biological mother, but with her questions answered to her own satisfaction, she decided it would be best just to keep it to herself.
After lunch, the phone rang. It was Jon. Denise was amazed at her reaction. For the first time since she had known him, she felt no excitement, no desire to talk with him, or be near him. She was no longer angry with him, just felt a kind of pity for him. She wondered what would become of him, and if he would ever truly find happiness.
“Denise, were you busy? I wondered if you wanted to do something this afternoon. I’ll need to be leaving for school about six o’clock, but I can come out for awhile if you want me to.”
“OK. Yes, that would be good. I really need to talk to you anyway. Can you come on out now?”
“Sure. You sound kind of strange. Is everything OK?” Jon sounded concerned.
“Everything’s great for me, Jon. Really. See you soon.”
“I love you Denise.” Jon said gently.
“OK,Goodbye.” Denise hung up the receiver, thinking how odd it was that she could be so calm about facing him, after being so angry last night. And she still felt happy inside, in spite of all this. Wasn’t this something akin to a miracle?
It didn’t take long for Jon to arrive. Denise had been watching for him through the kitchen window, and went out to meet him as he drove into the front drive. She caught Nana’s anxious glance as she left the house, and wished she’d explained things to her. She knew Nana sensed that something was up, but there wasn’t time now. Nana was so sweet, not asking any personal questions, Denise thought, thankfully.
Denise went to the passenger side of Jon’s car and got in, thankful that he had parked in the shade, and noticed a cool breeze was blowing occassionally.
“Hi,” she said casually. Looking into his big brown eyes she decided not to waste time. “Jon, I made a really big decision this morning. It will effect my whole life. I want you to know I made Jesus Lord of my life, today. I want you to know that I am not the same person you’ve known all this time. I think it’s time to give you your freedom, but I hope someday you’ll make this same decision. I’m happier than I’ve ever been.”
“What are you talking about? I don’t want my freedom! I don’t understand what’s going on with you, Denise. Are you just looking for an excuse to break up with me? Is that it? Don’t you have any feelings for me anymore?” Jon’s eyes were intense with feeling, as Denise tried to decide whether it was anger or fear, or both.
“Listen, Denise, you’ve been getting a lot of that religious nonsense crammed down your throat ever since you came out here to stay. Believe me, when you get back home, and everything gets back to normal, you’re gonna see. It’s just a bunch of foolishness, Denise!”
“I thought I loved you Jon, but I didn’t even know what love was. Now that I’ve had a taste of real love, from God, I realize I never really loved you, not a lasting love anyway. I was very attracted to you, but then, you’re a very handsome guy. You won’t have any trouble replacing me, Jon,” she said, as she handed him his senior ring.
“I don’t want that back, Denise. I want you to keep it. I love you, Denise!”
Getting out of the car, she refused to take the ring back. She felt so sorry for him. She understood that this wasn’t what he wanted, but she also understood that he really didn’t know what he wanted.
He reached across the car, and grabbed Denise’s arm roughly. She gently tried to loosen his grasp, in vain. He released her quickly, though, when he saw Papa had stepped out the door, and was standing on the front porch, glaring at him.
“Look, Babe, I was really upset last night, after our argument, and when you left for the hospital, and didn’t want me to go, I’ll admit I did a pretty rotten thing. I ran into a girl, and ended up going out with her. I guess word must’ve gotten back to you, huh. Well, I know it wasn’t right, but after the way you treated me, for no reason, I guess I just wanted to get back at you! But, I’m really sorry. Sweetheart, and I promise, it’ll never happen again. Just give me another chance, OK? We can work out our problems. You’ll get over this crazy thinking real soon. So just take back this ring, and let’s just give it some time, OK?”
Denise refused to give in to the anger trying to rise up within her. “Jon, this is not a game I’m playing, and I have not been ‘brainwashed’, and no one had to tell me about you being with Jessie Arnold last night, because I saw you for myself. But, that’s not what this is about. I just don’t have the same feelings for you now. It’s just-it’s just over, Jon!”
“Now, Denise, you can’t mean that! Just quit acting stupid, Denise! You’re mine, and you just can’t drop me like that!”
Denise could see that Jon was on the verge of losing control, again, only this time, he hadn’t been drinking. She couldn’t blame it on beer! She got out of the car, said simply, “Bye”, and with a smile, walked into the house, followed by Papa.
Nana and Papa looked at each other then at her, but said nothing. She was aware that Jon’s car didn’t move for several minutes, but her mind was made up. She knew this was the right thing to do! Somehow, she felt it in her heart.
After a few minutes, she heard Jon peel out of the driveway, and speed carelessly down the dirt road. Breathing a silent prayer in his behalf, she felt a new sense of relief. Now she could get on with her new life. Old things had passed away, all things had become new!
Denise decided since she had the whole afternoon with nothing special to do, it was a good time to write that letter to Mom and Dad. It didn’t take long to get her story told, and it was much easier than it would have been face to face. She explained that she and Jon had gone separate ways, knowing they would be disappointed, and that she had been studying the Bible for herself, and found that she did believe it literally, and hoped they would understand, and not oppose her in her decision to make Jesus Lord of her life.
Now she felt better. Denise folded the letter, inserted it into the envelope, and completed the addressing, wondering how this letter would be received. She guessed they probably would be afraid for her, that she would become a ‘fanatic’ or something, and maybe they would be disappointed in her, for a while. Denise made up her mind to try to be a good ‘follower of Christ’, in a way that would cause her parents to believe, if possible.
It was funny how the things she had been taught in Church and Sunday School, even years back, were just popping into her head. She hadn’t paid much attention to them, then, but now they really had meaning. It was like everything she had ever been taught about spiritual things was just waiting for this day. Like it had been put away for her, and now was brought out. And Denise had a real yearning now to know more, to find out all she could about the God she was now serving. And the peace she felt reminded her of Psalm 23, the last part that says “my cup runneth over.”
Contentedly, she lay on her bed, looking out the window at God’s masterpiece, the blue sky, white clouds, green trees, the blue water in the distant tank, the small birds occassionally flying from tree to tree, and wondered just what life held for her now.
Denise decided that she had one more thing she would have to do, explain to Nana and Papa about Jon. She couldn’t let them go on wondering, and she could see that they weren’t going to ask questions. They were very special people!