I met with my stepfather the other evening. I arrived not knowing if I was going to be confrontational or forgiving and let everything go. As it was, I was somewhere in-between.
It was good to see him, though hard. He smelled like my mother. Not in a perfume way, but in a house way. I'm sure their house, which he now shares with his new wife (who was his ex-wife), still has that smell. It was hard to hug him.
"Hi Kiddo," he said.
We talked about mundane things for a while, and then I decided to approach the topic.
Where do we stand? I asked.
He explained how he felt, how his new/old wife felt, how he still missed my Mom, how he felt that he didn't have a place in my life now that she was gone.
I assured him that he did and that I wanted to have a relationship with him. After all, we've spent 29 years together. I'm 32 years old now. You do the math. It's been a long time.
We ended on a good note, and another embrace. I got into the car and drove the snowy road home.
I asked God to send me a song when I first turned on the radio and, indeed, He did:
"He Will Carry Me" by Mark Schultz
That night and the following day, a gentle love spread throughout my heart. I prayed hard. I prayed for my stepfather - for his pain, and I also prayed for his now-wife, "S," that she may find peace, herself. My stepfather told me she feels like an alien in that house that he and Mom built. I imagined her feeling like the new wife in "Rebecca" by Daphne DuMaurier, haunted by a dead woman and feeling like she could never measure up. I prayed that "S" feel more comfortable and, especially, that she realize that my mother does not hate her, does not wish her ill will, that my mother, in Heaven, wishes she and my stepfather a marriage full of peace and love.
"S" wants nothing to do with me, so my stepfather tells me. And that is fine. She hates my mother, however. Still, I pray for her.
"But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you."
Overall, it was a healing evening. I'm grateful for it. It was a balm for my wounded heart.