Make sure you check out the other story of the day, The Break.
This is the second story of the day and is inspired by my lovely friend Megan Kidd. But the word “friend” doesn’t completely give you the extent of my relationship with Megan. She is more of a sister to me and an aunt to my kids. One of my boys calls her his best friend. She is a part of our family. And we love her very much! Here’s the story she inspired…
“Madison Skye is quiet, curious and friendly. From Scottsbluff, Nebraska. Grew up without a father and meets her siblings for the first time. She did drugs and experimented with other things. Now has to decide if she wants to meet her father or not. In the process she finds the love of Christ.”
Madison sat on the airplane. It had been a turbulent flight. The swooping and bouncing and shaking had made her question why she’d ever thought this trip would be a good idea.
But I’m here now, she thought. No going back.
The little lady in the seat next to her spoke, for the first time since boarding in Miami, in a slurred Spanish. She seemed to be asking Madison a question.
“Sorry, I don’t speak any Spanish,” Madison said. “No hablo.”
“Dominicana?” the woman asked.
“Me? No.” Madison tried to understand the question. Was she a Dominican?
She didn’t even know the answer to that. She didn’t know the father she was meeting there in Santiago. But she knew from the darker tint to her skin, the curl in her hair, that she had that heritage in her blood. But could she call herself a Dominican? She was hoping to answer that question.
In the past, this would have been the perfect time to get just a little high. Or to drink just a few shots. Enough to take the edge off. But Madison was done with that now. She just breathed deeply, calming herself.
The little woman kept right on talking.
It had been a month since she first met Salvator and Carmen, her brother and sister. They’d come to meet her after she left rehab. There was a party, a reunion, many tears. She found them, trying to find more stability in her life. But what they brought was more upheaval.
They took her to church. Taught her to pray, that Jesus died for her. Fed her food she wasn’t used to.
“You are Dominicana,” Carmen had said. “You need to learn how to cook like one.”
They shared family pictures with her. Their grandmother, cousins, aunts and uncles. Pictures of her father. They told her stories about him. How he was a good man who made terrible choices. That he’d loved her, but his decisions pulled him from her.
Suddenly a desire came into Madison’s heart. She wanted to meet her father.
And, so, she saved her money, bought a plane ticket to Santiago, Dominican Republic.
The taxi ride from the airport to her father’s home was long. Enough time for her to get carsick and even more nervous about meeting her father.
“100 pesos,” the driver said, stopping the car.
She handed him the money and stepped out and onto the street.
Madison stood at a gate. The house beyond the gate was a concrete block, painted teal and orange. A television was on inside. The sound was so loud she knew it would hurt her ears if she was near it. She looked at the house.
Inside was her father. The man who loved her mother so many years ago. Who had abandoned them when things got tough. When the bills came due and he didn’t have money to pay them. When diapers needed to be changed and he hadn’t wanted to. When her mother had an affair to find comfort, even though it had been wrong.
Her mother had told her that the man, her father, was an addict. His choice was whiskey. And he was an angry drunk. Madison’s mother said that when he left she felt peace for the first time since meeting him.
Madison understood addiction. She had struggles of her own. She tried things at parties. Then she bought things to do, smoke, snort, huff, all on her own. Then she couldn’t seem to get up in the morning without the help of a pain pill. She was an angry druggie.
She was clean. 300 days without anything in her system that was stronger than espresso and nicotine. And she was trying to kick both of those habits, too.
Standing in front of her father’s home in the Dominican Republic, a thousand miles from her Nebraska home, she craved a little something to build up her courage.
God, she prayed, I’m terrified. Help me to be strong.
She saw him walk past a window. That shape was the man who made up half of her. But she felt no connection to him.
You need to love him, the Still Small Voice said to her. I love him. Go and see him.
But he hurt me. All the bad that happened to me was because of him, Madison prayed.
Not all the bad. You chose some of the pain. But I forgave you. And him.
Her father turned and looked out a window. Their eyes met.
She smiled and walked toward the house.