Chapter Two - Defining Moments

The paper was titled, “Love.” Joy’s criticism flowed effortlessly and smoothly, “Sure he knows all about this. I’m going to read something wonderful here.”

Instead, his words rocked her foundation, taking her by complete surprise. They formed thoughts and feelings Joy never knew existed in his soul.

“When I was a young man, I married my first wife and had two children by her, and I loved them. When she died, I married Ollie and I loved her, but I did not love her three children. I did not know I was supposed to. In the years that followed, I became indebted to Joy, because Joy was kinder to me than my own children.”

Joy’s mind flashed back to an almost forgotten memory. At one time her stepfather was going to shoot and kill his own son. Joy’s mother stood between the gun in his hand and his son and evenly declared, “If you shoot him, you will have to shoot me first.”

Her stepfather continued, “Now I am an old man; I’m sick and nobody loves me. I need forgiveness. I need somebody to love me and forgive me.”

Joy’s caustic thoughts bit back, “You bet you do!”

Like the sinner dying on the cross next to Jesus went from mocking Him to begging for mercy, so Joy went from hating him to understanding who her stepfather really was. She looked into his despondent eyes and tears streamed down her face. He too, was crying uncontrollably.

She didn’t know what to do, but she had to do something. Answering her prayer, God was using this defining moment to reveal her purpose to help others. She got up from her seat, walked over to where he was, knelt in front of him, took his pitiful bony hands in hers, looked up into his face weathered by life’s battles, and did the very best she could at that time. “Oh, Tom, if anyone could write anything as wonderful as that, they can’t be all bad.” In that moment, forgiveness became a reality.

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