“Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.” – Proverbs 10:12, NIV
On the outside, they were the perfect family. But Annie knew better than most people that looks didn’t always tell the full story. Her father had served in the Vietnam War and had suffered a severe head injury that he’d never been treated for.
But Annie and her siblings never knew that. They only knew a cruel man that would often erupt into violent rages. “All of us kids just tried to stay out of his way growing up.”
It wasn’t until her mom’s death that Annie began to put the pieces together. “I came across some of my mom’s old journals and discovered the truth. She wrote about my dad and what a wonderful man he was before his injuries. It made me realize for the first time why she never left.”
Even with the journals that answered so many questions, Annie still carried a lot of pain. Then one day, a family friend called to say her dad was in the hospital.
Annie made the seven-hour drive to her father’s bedside to find a frail shadow of the man she’d once known. He’d suffered several strokes and didn’t seem aware of his surroundings.
All of her siblings refused to visit their father, so Annie stayed by his side day and night. “Sitting there, I started reading to him. He’d always been such a big reader and halfway through a book; I started bawling. I realized that I forgave him, for the person he was and the person he could have been, for the pain and the sadness.”
Her dad finally passed away two days later, and Annie felt peaceful for the first time in decades. “It was incredible really. I felt peace once I knew he was at peace. I think he’s with my mom in Heaven and I imagine them going on picnics together and talking and laughing.”
God, family can leave some of the deepest wounds. Help me to be an agent of healing and forgiveness in my family. In Jesus’ name, Amen.