Sunday, December 26, 2010

Holiday stories: Forgiveness

~Story by, Diane Wolfe~

Sarah’s husband Matt, and his older brother Mark, have just opened gifts from their mother. Each son received a personalized book, highlighting his accomplishments through school, college, and work.

Their mother left their father when they were teens and vanished from their lives for many years. She has worked hard over the past year to rebuild their relationship. The brothers have reacted differently to the situation…

Matt flipped through the remainder of Mark’s book, smiling proudly at his brother’s accomplishments. He handed it to his father and retrieved his own book. Sarah anxiously went through Matt’s book again, taking delight in the pictures of him from childhood. Grinning at her obvious enthusiasm, Matt arose to get a drink.

He strolled into the kitchen, debating on whether he wanted to make hot chocolate or just have juice. Matt glanced through the French doors and noticed his brother outside on the deck. Mark was leaning against the railing and staring off into space. Puzzled, Matt decided to investigate.

Mark glanced warily at his brother as he joined him on the massive back deck. The air was quite chilly and grey clouds covered the sky. The wood beneath his feet felt cold even through his socks, and Matt was thankful he had on a sweatshirt. Stuffing his hands in his jean pockets, he slowly approached his brother. Mark stared at the grass beneath the deck and the distraught look on his face surprised Matt. Mark had always been more emotionally stable, his attitude occasionally bordering on detachment. At the moment, however, he did not appear so sure of himself.

Pausing a couple feet from his brother, Matt stood by the railing and waited for Mark to speak first. They stared at the landscaped backyard, both deep in thought. After a few minutes, Mark kicked at the railing with his feet.

“Why the hell did she do that?” he asked, staring at the ground. “Why’d she save all that stuff?”

“Because she loves us,” offered Matt, aware it was not the answer his brother wanted.

“Then why did she leave?” he asked angrily.

“It had nothing to do with us,” replied Matt. “But you need to hear it from her, not me.”

Mark gave him a sharp look. “She told you?”

Matt nodded solemnly. He knew his brother spoke infrequently with their mother and had never given her the chance to explain her actions. It had not been pleasant, but Matt was thankful he endured the ordeal. It had erased the last of his pain and bitterness.

“You forgave her, didn’t you?” Mark asked in an accusing tone.

“Yes, I did,” said Matt firmly.

Mark shook his head in disgust. Matt’s brother had always been able to intimidate him into changing his opinion, but not this time. Considering the efforts of his mother to heal their relationship, Matt would not permit his brother’s negative attitude to undo all she had accomplished. After so many years of turmoil and uncertainty, Matt had peace at last. He fervently wished his brother would make the effort to let go of his anger as well.

“Like I said, you were always her favorite,” Mark growled, his voice heavy.

“And you were her first!” Matt shot back, tired of the same old excuse. Mark regarded him with surprise and Matt simply shook his head.

“How you feel about her is your business,” he began, determined not to let his brother take him down the same bitter path. “But she’s still our mother and has gone out of her way to make amends. I know she loves us very much. And if that scrapbook doesn’t convince you, then nothing I say is gonna make a difference anyway.”

Matt turned to go inside, determined to enjoy Christmas Day with his family. He hesitated, his eyes on his brother.

“In fact, I’m going to call her when it’s not so darn early on the west coast and thank her for my book. If you want to talk to her, that’s great. If not,” Matt said with a shrug, “then I hope it’s something you can live with, Mark, because I sure couldn’t.”

Diane Wolfe originally hales from Oregon and presently resides in North Carolina with her husband and two cats. Diane Wolfe conducts seminars on promoting, leadership and goal setting. A member of the National Speakers Association, the author offers her seminars through community colleges, organizations and clubs.

The author’s main work is a young adult series entitled The Circle of Friends. It follows a group of sports-minded couples through relationships, college and into their early careers. Meant to inspire as well as entertain, these books have been described as “encouragement personified”.

AKA Spunk On A Stick, her mantra is, “With a positive attitude, any goal can be achieved!”

For more info about Diane or more about Circle of Friends-Book II Sarah, visit her website.