Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: ALL TALK, NO ACTION (01/10/19)
- TITLE: Broken Promises
By Francie Snell
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She sobbed. “But Daddy, why do you have to leave? Are you ever coming back?”
“Of course, I’ll be back. I’ll come and visit. I’ll see you at Christmas, K? You wanna go sledding this year? Wouldn’t that be fun… playing in the snow at Christmas?”
She sniffled and slowly nodded her head, then looked deep into his eyes. “Really Daddy… you promise?
He gave a mirthful smile and motioned his hand crisscrossing his chest. “Cross my heart hope to die.” He hurriedly hugged her and smacked her lightly on the bottom. “Now go inside with your mom and be a good girl. I’ll be back before you know it.”
Sarah slowly ambled up the dirt path to her mother standing on the front porch and casting a cold stare at Jason as he hopped into his new convertible.
He started the car and called out. “Love you, Sarah. See you in a couple of months.”
Sarah waved to her dad as he drove away and counted the days before she’d see him again.
Weeks before Christmas, Sarah admired the three colorful boxes she had wrapped carefully and set under the Christmas tree. He’ll be so happy when he opens them: a fuzzy blue snow cap, a scarf, and mittens he can wear when we play in the snow.
Two days before Christmas the phone rang in the Hudson home. When Sarah’s mother answered it, her eyes narrowed as she listened. Then she shrieked. “You can’t be serious. Do you have any idea how much she’s been looking forward to seeing you…or do you even care?” She shook her head with pain in her eyes. “Well, you’ll have to break it to her yourself, Mr.Selfish.” She handed her daughter the phone. “Here honey, it’s your daddy.”
A voice crooned on the other end. “I’m so sorry honey, but Daddy won’t be able to make it back for Christmas. Something’s come up, and I just can’t get away right now. But I promise I’ll come right after the new year. There’ll be plenty of snow then, and we can go sledding just like I promised. We’ll have lots of fun, you’ll see.”
However, January came and went without a call or a visit.
Through the following years, dying hope weighed heavy on her heart whenever Sarah announced upcoming dates and times of significant events to her father. A faceless voice always responded with sounds of enthusiasm. Yet so seldom did he follow through.
“Of course, I’ll make it to your Spring Dance Recital. Your daddy wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
“Graduation from Middle School…when is it…six o’clock? I’ll write it on the calendar. I’ll be there. I promise.”
“My little girl’s turning sweet sixteen,” he said, one day, with a syrupy sweetness she had grown weary of. He laughed jovially. “So, what’s my little girl want for her birthday?”
“You Dad, just you,” she said flatly and hung up the phone.
It was two years later when she trembled, dialing her dad to give him some wonderful news.
“Sarah, I can’t believe you’re already graduating. Boy, how time flies. Of course I’m gonna be there. When is it?
Thirty minutes before commencement, Sarah scanned the faces filling up the auditorium and observed as each person came through the door until the ceremony began. Breathing deeply, she stood before the podium, valedictorian of her class. Before thousands, she spoke a message of gratitude while in her heart she wished, if only Dad were here.
And so, on that night, like so many others, she cried herself to sleep.
Years later, while in her mid-twenties, Sarah prayed to God to rid her of her pain from the past. From sorrowful disappointment to joyful healing, she forgave her earthly father and accepted him for who and what he was. For she had met the man of her dreams, a relationship like she had never known. No broken promises. No empty words. And when she read the love notes written by Him who deeply loved her, she marveled…
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
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