Special Gathering Stories

Books and articles written for and by the mentally challenged community

Archive for Special Gathering stories

My dad

My father was not allowed to leave the house without me.  That was my rule–not his.  Sure, he could go to work; but after that, I would pile into his mini-Crosley car whenever he attempted to leave the house.  I didn’t always get my way; but it wasn’t my fault.

My mother once said that I got a lot more ice cream and Coke than the other children because I wanted to be with my father all the time.  As my father was dying, the rest of the family who lived in town hovered around his bedside.  Yet, they concluded that Daddy wouldn’t die until I could travel the eight hours required to get there–and he didn’t.

As much as I loved my dad, I also knew that it was wisdom to fear him.  He was much bigger than me and he required obedience and respect.  He earned both.  

He could make anything.  Before he died, he built my mother her dream house.  It was two stories; and except for the inside finish work, he build all of it himself.  He also made our first set of water skis.  As my brother approached his teenage years, Dad decided that skiing would be a good family sport that we could all enjoy.  He had a small fishing boat.  Because we are all small in statue, he calculated that this boat could pull us fast enough to lift us from the water.  He was right.

Daddy found a friend who owned a pair of skis.  After examining them, he worked for several weeks to fashion and mold the wood into skis.  The next six or seven years were spent on various rivers and lakes skiing.  My brother because a champion skier.  I didn’t like to fall.  Therefore, I did the fancy, skiing that required little or no risk, while my brother did the real hard work of making me look good.

Whatever my father did, he threw himself into it with his whole body, mind and soul.  That included his relationship with the Lord.  He was about fifty years old before he truly came to know the Lord.  Even though we attended church multiple times each week, Dad didn’t have a vital relationship until one day as he was driving home from a wholesale warehouse.  He stopped his Volkswagen Beatle at a red light, put his head on the steering wheel and tearfully surrendered to his Heavenly Father as the complete Lord of his life.

From that moment, Daddy wanted to tell everyone about Jesus.  He was one of those weirdos who has Jesus quotes painted all over his car.  He shared his faith with everyone.  If people rejected him, he would laugh and say, “I could be wrong about going to heaven when I die.  Possibly, it might be like you say.  When we die, there could be nothing out there.  But even if I am wrong, I’ve lost nothing. Because I’m having a wonderful life.  You, on the other hand, are totally miserable; and if I’m right, you are going to die and go to hell.  I think the odds are on my side, don’t you?”

At my father’s funeral, his pastor told the audience a story the family had not heard.  When his pastor was a young man in the Navy, Daddy would come up to the bus stop where the workers would congregate to enter the Naval Shipyard.  Many mornings, Daddy would approach the group of men clustered on the side walk, shouting, “Good news!  Good news!”

There are always a new man who was there and he would ask, “What is it?”

Raising his hands into the air, Daddy would declare, “Jesus loves you and he died for your sins.  All you need to do is accept his love and you will be saved.”

His pastor said, “I could never forget what he said.  I carried that message all day, every day.  Finally, I surrendered to that good news and I came to take the Lord as my Savior.”

The heritage my father left me made it easy for me to understand a loving heavenly Father who delighted in me.  One who wanted me to have the best of everything.  I knew my heavenly Father would disciple me, when needed but with grief and fairness.  I can understand a tough, tender, passionately forgiving  Father who freely poured his love out on a silly child who wants to go anywhere, as long as my heavenly Father is going with me.

Read more: http://blog.beliefnet.com/simplelife/2011/06/my-dad.html#ixzz1PWshrsRT


The Elder Son–Chapter 16

By E. Williams

This book began on June 24.  You may want to go there to start your reading.

I sat looking at my hands but Ron continued with his story.  “The father was always watching for his son.  He saw him when he first came in sight, and he was overjoyed.  He ran to his son and hugged and kissed him.

“The son said, ‘Father, I have sinned against God and against you and I’m not worthy to be called your son.’

“‘Bring him the best robe, a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet,'” the father said.  ‘Kill the fatted calf and let’s have a great feast. Let’s eat and be merry.'”

“That’s the story of the prodigal son,” I said.  “I’ve known that since kindergarten. I told you I know God forgives sinners.”

“But there’s more to the story, Nina.  That was the part about the younger son.  How about the elder son?

“He knew he’d been good.  He’d worked hard to please his father, and he’d obeyed his every command.  He was angry now.  ‘You never gave me a party,’ he said. ‘You never killed the fatted calf for me.  Why are you doing it for your other son, who been such a sinner?’ 

“His father answered, ‘Son, you’re always with me and everything I have is yours.  It’s right for us to have a party for your brother, because he was lost and now he’s found.'”

“Do you think it was wrong for the elder son to be good and try to please his father, Ron?” I asked. “I thought that was what everyone was supposed to do.”

“Of course, it wasn’t wrong.  Good works are never wrong.  But the way he acted toward his brother makes me think he might have been proud and jealous of his position.  He didn’t want to share his father’s love.”

“Are you saying that I’m mean and jealous like the elder son?”

Ron looked at me and sighed, just the way Mary Beth’s mother had done.  Why did everyone think I was wrong?  It would be the same old story.  They’d all greet Janet with open arms, and I’d be the one who’d be left out, with no one caring how I felt.

The Elder Son–Chapter 15

By E. Williams

This book began on June 24.  You may want to go there to begin reading.

“Let’s sit on these chairs under the tree and talk about hat, Honey,” Ron said.

“Please don’t tell me that I should be sweet and kind and greet her with love and kisses and let her walk all over me again.”

“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us,” Ron said, smiling at me.  “That’s what Jesus taught us to pray, you know.”

“I know God says to forgive sinners if they repent.  I just don’t believe that Janet is really sorry.  She’s done this so often, and every time Mom and Dad get hurt.  I really don’t want her home again.  And I don’t want to talk about it any more.”

“You don’t have to talk.  Just listen while I tell you a story,”  Ron said.  “A certain man had two sons.  The elders son was a good son.  He served his father faithfully and never disobeyed him in any way.  The younger son was different.  He didn’t want to stay and work for his father.  He wanted to see the world.  He asked his father for his share of the money his father would leave him so that he could go away and enjoy life.

“His father gave him the money, and the boy went to a far country where he wasted it in wild and foolish living.  When he had spent it all his so-called friends left him and he had to get a job feeding pigs.  One day he came to himself. ‘What am I doing here?’ he asked himself.  ‘I’ll go back to my father and tell him I’m sorry.  Maybe he’ll let me work as a servant.’

The Elder Son–Chapter 14

By E. Williams

This book began on June 24.  You may want to go there to begin reading.

I suppose if Mom had said come home right away, I would have gone, but she only sighed and said goodbye.

“She doesn’t care if I come or not,” I said.  “Now that she’s got Janet to fuss over.”

“Sit down for a minute, Nina,” Mary Beth’s mother said. “We need to talk about the way you’re feeling about Janet coming home.”

“I don’t want to talk about her.”

“All right.  Let’s talk about the lost sheep in the Bible.  There were ninety-nine sheep in the fold.  They were safe and well fed and they knew the shepherd cared for them.  Do you think they were angry when he left them to look for the one that was lost?”

“Sheep can’t think,” I muttered.

Mary Beth’s mother sighed, just like Mom had done.  “Did you know your brother is coming home today?  Don’t you want to go see him?”

I did want to see Ron.  I thought he might understand how I felt.  He knew how Janet had hurt the family.  He had been hurt, too.  Maybe we could get together and get Mom and Dad to send Janet away somewhere.  I wouldn’t go home to talk to Ron, but I thought he would come to see me.  I looked for him all morning, but it was afternoon before I saw him walking up the street.  I ran to meet him.

“Hi, little sister,” he said.  “You know, I think you get prettier every time I see you.  Janet’s home.  Don’t you want to come back with me and see her?”

“No,” I said.  “I don’t want her there.  I don’t think she has a right to come home and mess everything up again.”

The Elder Son–Chapter 13

By E. Williams

This book began on June 24.  You will want to go there to begin reading.

By the time I got to school I knew what I was going to do.  “Can I stay with you tonight, Mary Beth?  My folks are going out of town.”

“you mean they’ll miss the concert and your solo?  That’s too bad, Mina.  Is it because of Janet?”

“Who else?”  I said, bitterly.  “She’s the only one who counts with them.  They don’t care about what I do.”

“I think you’re wrong,” Mary Beth said slowly.  “But you know I’ll be happy to have yu stay, and so will my mom Maybe you ought to talk to her about this.”

I shook my head.  Mary Beth’s mother was my Sunday school teacher, and she really cared about everyone in my class.  She’d helped me handle problems before, but I didn’t want anyone to know about the bitter feelings I had toward my family now.

I wouldn’t talk to Mom when I stopped in to get my band uniform and night things after school.  I got a dress for Sunday school, too, and one for school on Monday morning.  I supposed I would have to come home sometimes, but I would stay with Mary Beth as long as her folks would keep me.

Mom called me Saturday morning.  “How was the concert, Honey?” she asked.

“Fine,” I said.

“Janet’s here.  Would like to say hello to her?”


There was a pause.  “When are you coming home, Nina?

“Not until I have to.”

The Elder Son–Chapter 12

By E. Williams

This book began on June 24.  You will want to go there to start reading at the beginning.

This time Janet stayed away for six months.  I hoped she’d never come back.  I never wanted to see her again.  I wanted to forget that I had ever had a sister.

As soon as I came down for breakfast this morning I knew that Mom had heard from Janet agian.  Her face was glowing with happiness.

“Oh, Nina!  The most wonderful news!  Our prayers have been answered!  Janet called. She’s all right, and she’s coming home!  She says she’s finally turned her life over to Jesus and He’s changed her.”

“You surely don’t believe that, do you?”  I asked.  “She probably got in trouble of some kind and she needs help.  She knows you and Dad will always be here for her, and she’s using you again.”

A moment of doubt showed in Mom’s eyes.  “We’ll have to take it on faith,” she said.  “We’re driving to the city tonight to pick her up.  I know you’ll want to go, too.”

“Mom!  Tonight is my band concert and I’ve got a flute solo.  I’ve been practicing for months!  You can’t miss that!”

“Oh, dear!  I forgot that for a moment.  I don’t want to miss your concert, of course, but Janet will be waiting for us, and I don’t know how to get in touch with her to put her off.  I’m sorry, Nina, really I am.”

“No, you’re not,” I said.  “I never have counted beside Janet.  I’ve been the good one.  I’ve gone to church and got good grades and tried to make up for the awful things Janet has done to you, but I don’t count.  It’s Janet, Janet, Janet!  You can’t think of anyone but her.  I don’t matter at all! I hate her!  Why do you let her come back here?  You know she’ll only cause trouble again and I’m sick and tired of it!”

“Nina, honey!  Don’t talk like that!  Janet’s your sister and she needs our love and support.  We’ll have to…”

And that’s when I ran out the door, like I said in the beginning of this story.  I’ve been sitting on a bench, waiting for the school bus and thinking of all that has happened.  I’ve gotten on the school bus now with my mind made up.  I’m sure that Mom and Dad have been being very unfair to me.  I feel very sorry for myself.

The Elder Son–Chapter 11

By E. Williams

This book began on June 24.  You will want to get there to begin reading.

We were all happy to have Janet back.  At first, it seemed that things would go back to the way they used to be when our family was all so happy together.  My sister was not the old Janet, though, and before long she began to be restless and unhappy again. She seemed to want to argue with Mom and Dad about every rule they tried to make for her.

She didn’t want to do homework.  She cut school several times.  At home, she wouldn’t keep her room clean or help with the housework.  Our home life was never peaceful like it used to be .  All of us tried so hard to get along with her, but she just seemed to want to cause trouble.

Sometimes I felt as if we were all living in a nightmare and would never wake up.  Dad found drugs in Janet’s room.  When he tried to ground her, she said she would run away.  Dad found a Christian counselor and made her go to meetings with him, but Janet wouldn’t talk to him.

There was the terrible night of my slumber part when Janet smoked marijuana in front of my friends.  Some of them weren’t allowed to visit me any more. “How could she do that to me?”  I asked Mom.  There was not  an answer.

“How’s your junkie sister?” a boy asked me at school one day.  I wondered if everyone was talking about us, and I began to stay away from games and parties at school.

“We’ll have to put Janet into a program where she lives away from home and gets counseling every day,” Dad said, finally.  “We’ve tried, but we can’t make her understand that she’s ruining her life.”

While Dad was trying to find just he right place to sent Janet, she ran away again.  Maybe this was when I began to hate her instead of feeling sympathy and love.  Maybe it was because I could see what she was doing to Mom and Dad, the best parents in the world.  Dad’s hair was graying, and he had deep lines beside his mouth.  Mom had the puffy look around her eyes that comes from tears that won’t stop.