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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The Prodigal Daughter Comes Home


Many of you have prayed for the healthy return and well-being of my first born, Kathleen.  I am thrilled to tell you all that she is coming home - today.  And, there is special significance to this event and I thought I should share it with all of you so that you know that your prayers - our prayers - have been answered abundantly.


To read the story of Kathleen, click HERE.  Kathleen has been struggling with many aspects of her life, and she has tried, but her health deteriorated as did her ability to survive on her own.  It has been 5 years since I have seen my daughter.  She has traveled between New York and Florida and settled in Florida with a dear friend, Dale, 4 years ago.  He let her have the extra room in his small townhouse and he supported her the best he could on a butcher's income.  He has been a "friend" to Kathleen in a way that many of us may never be able to wrap our brain around.  And no, this was not an intimate relationship and never has been, and that is what is so amazing about this young man who took Kathleen in and gave her a chance.  If only we all were so blessed to have a friend who would save us when we needed them.


Dale wasn't there for Kathleen because we "weren't."  He was there for Kathleen because she didn't want to need us.  She didn't want to come home.  She was stubborn and difficult.  She didn't want to face the responsibilities of her life through the eyes of her parents.  If we gave her money, she might squander it away on something completely unnecessary, so we stopped giving her money.  If we sent her items to help her, like clothing, hygiene items, or sheets, she wouldn't say "thank you."  If anything, she resented any of the help we provided, and knowing that she was an adult and needing to take responsibility for her own life, we backed off.  Of course, for any of you reading this, please know that we've been raising Kathleen's son and only child since he was 2 weeks old.  Glen is now 9 years old and a dear and loving young boy.  We adore him.  So please know that we did not entirely give up on Kathleen.  We never have.  And everyday with Glen is a day "for" Kathleen.



What has made our communication with Kathleen the most difficult is that she has not had a telephone or a mobile phone.  Dale worked and has a mobile phone, but even with the messages that we left, it wasn't always easy to speak to Kathleen and know how she was doing.


Fortunately, my mother, who has lived with us for 11 years, went to Florida to visit my brother, Mike and his wife, Marcella for an extended stay.  Mom loves Florida and we thought it would be healthier for her if she was there during the winter months.  My brother, Mike, lives about 15 minutes from where Kathleen was staying.  He drove over there to check on her on a number of occasions.  When Mom went to visit him he drove her over there too and Mom took her out to lunch and shopping for a few things and took the pictures that you see here.  When she sent me the pictures in the mail I took one look at them and dropped to my knees.  I felt like I had been hit in the stomach with a sledge hammer.  I curled up and cried.  I prayed.

Thanks to this blog, this life story of mine, I received numerous emails and comments from concerned readers offering hope, solace, advice, guidance, and many, many heartfelt prayers.  I want you all to know that I heard you.  I listened.  And, I am eternally grateful for your prayers.  Kathleen is coming home.


I'll tell you how we got to this place today.  I was talking to Kathleen on the phone (one of those rare occasions on Dale's cell phone) and she asked me to sign up for a vent (Ventrilo) which is a server and a VOIP whereby we can communicate through our computer.  She was a member of a gaming Vent and working for this gaming company.   So, while on the phone she walked me through the process of becoming a member of her employer's Vent so that we could chat.  It is sorta like instant messaging, only you don't have to type, you just talk.  Funny thing is, it is clearer than a lan line telephone and much clearer than a cell phone.  Go figure.  You sign on and sign out much like you would if you were instant messaging. 


I was so amazed by this that I went to Ventrilo and dangnammit, I bought my own server and Vent so that I could talk to friends and family on a regular basis, especially Kathleen - and free to them - and not be interrupted from working on my computer.  I hate telephones.  When they ring, everything else has to stop.  So this was the perfect solution.  I love it.   As a result of starting my own Vent, Kathleen and I have been communicating on a daily basis and sometimes for hours on end.  That was easy! (Now I sound like a Staples commercial), but it was!  And Kathleen and I had a lot of catching up to do. 


So, for the last 6 weeks or so, Kathleen and I have been "venting" (that's for sure) every day and it has been wonderful.  And then she asked the "big" question.  "The" question.  The one that I knew would be tough for her.  She asked if she could come home, even if just for a visit.  "Kathleen, my home is your home."  "Mi casa es su casa,"  "La mia casa è la tua casa," "Ma maison est votre maison."  And so the path was set and we talked some more, and then some more, and then some more.  We bonded - again.  The years of resentment, regret, and stress melted away with every conversation. 


As you all know, my hubby has been out of work since September, and times are tougher than they have ever been before.  But, we are surviving and we are okay.  When the possibility arose that Kathleen would come home, I realized we couldn't afford the ticket.  As a last ditch, I asked my mother if she could help. (I guess we never grow up do we?)  And she said "absolutely" as she was anxious to have Kathleen come home anyway.  So, Mom bought Kathleen's plane ticket and she is flying home today. "Thank you Mom.  I love you."


Now, you want to get a chill up your spine?  Do you want to know how God's ever presence gives us miracles and speaks to us?  Listen up.  Today is Kathleen's birthday.  She is 30 years old today. That's the first amazing thing - that she is flying home on her birthday.  Oh, and it is the season of Lent.  And, it is a Wednesday - 1 week after Ash Wednesday.  I'm not finished - who can forget the story of the Prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32 which occurred during the season of Lent. 


Lent is a season of soul-searching and repentance. It is a season for reflection and taking stock of our life.  It is a season of spiritual change.  It is the season for rebirth.  As I kneel before my Lord, I know that I must repent.  I know that I need to continue with my soul-searching and reflect on my relationship with my daughter.  I know that I need Him to guide me and that I need to turn this all over to Him.  And I have. 


And so, today, on my daughter's 30th birthday, she is coming home.  I will take pictures.  I will take video.  I will take heart of the blessings that are held dear on this day.


This story cannot end without recognizing the blessings I have in my dear friend, Beth.  My singing girl cook here on Raisin Toast.  The one who provides us all with great recipes week after week.  The one who has been my friend for over 25 years.  The one who looks amazingly youthful and beautiful for her age.  The one who makes me laugh and smile on a daily basis.  Beth asked her sweetheart, Paul, if he could pick up Kathleen in LakeWorth and take her to the airport for me since she had to work.  And, without hesitation, he said "yes."  "Thank you Beth.  Thank you Paul. From the bottom of my heart - thank you!" 


So, Paul is picking up Kathleen at 9:30 this morning, 6 minutes before she officially turns 30, and will be driving her to the airport.  She'll be home at 4:12 this afternoon.  I can't wait.  I can't wait to put my lovin' arms around my baby girl - even if she is 6 feet tall!" 

Thank you all for your prayers - they've been answered.



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