Describing his music style at the Wetaskiwin Waterworks Theatre on October 18th, 2014, Rev K (Kerry Klontz) stated, “Sharing my music is sharing a part of myself and I love the connection that is made with other people through my music.” This was clearly illustrated as he invited his newly discovered cousin and special guest onto the stage to perform a very emotional song he had written, ‘Crystal Blue Eyes’. The song was an unexpected emotional twist to the evening’s performance when Crystal Sheren joined him to perform the song he wrote especially for her and the family.
Crystal is 40 years old and had met her biological father when she was 17 years of age, but they parted ways until August of 2014. The following is the moving ‘right-from-the-toes’ story told by Crystal Sheren, Crystal Blue Eyes.
The story as told by Crystal Sheren
Prepared for Barry McDonald
Since turning 40 this summer I’ve had nothing but a wild and whimsical ride with Holy Spirit. Without a doubt, having my first ever Thanksgiving Dinner with my dad on Oct 12th, (2014) along with meeting my grandmother, an aunt and a cousin for the first time makes for a momentous occasion.
It’s a story in itself, but I met my Dad for the first time in my life when I was 17 (I’m now 40), but we didn’t stay connected for various reasons. Mostly I was young and it was overwhelming emotionally.
This August (2014), I felt like God wanted to take me on a drive to my Dad’s property and pray for him, choosing to forgive him for not being a part of my life and to bless him. As a result of my Holy Spirit led road trip, I ended up driving past the cemetery and wondering if there were any relatives there and then wondered if my grandparents were still alive.
This led me to dig into looking up my dad on Facebook. I could not find him when I searched for his name but I did find names of friends of his listed on his website and through some sleuthing, found my Dad’s Facebook page. I began to notice two names on his Facebook page that were mutual friends of mine; Kerry Klontz was one of them and his wife Janet.
I had been chatting with one of our mutual friends and asking if she knew Janet and Kerry and she mentioned I should message Janet. So I did on August 21, 2014. In short, I told Janet I wondered why I recognized Kerry’s picture and asked if he had ever worked at Birch Bay Ranch (BBR) or at Millet school? She replied that he worked at BBR and then I began to remember meeting him years ago.
I then told her I was interested in reconnecting with my birth father and wondered how she and Kerry knew him, as they were mutual friends with him on Facebook. She asked who my Dad was and when I told her his name she said that Kerry and James are cousins. Wow! That meant that Kerry is my cousin! Who knew? My mind was already amazed at how small the world was with the whole mutual friends thing, but to realize that I had known and worked with my cousin years ago and didn’t even know he was related to me was pretty mind blowing.
Janet continued to tell me that my grandmother, Doreen, is a lovely Christian woman. Seeing this message made me sit back in my seat with a big sigh. I had never known my grandmother’s name before messaging with Janet. Both Kerry and Janet were so excited to discover with me that we were related, we arranged to have a phone date the next morning to talk more about family.
The next morning, on August 22, I called them and spoke on the phone for some time making connections and hearing news of family I had never known before. Janet asked me if I would like to come to dinner that night, I said yes and drove out to Wetaskiwin from Edmonton to meet them. As soon as I walked in the door I was warmly greeted and remembered Kerry. We were simply amazed that we were cousins and spent the evening looking at pictures and them telling me stories.
They were so excited and really wanted me to meet my grandmother. I of course wanted to as well, but I wanted to make sure that I made a connection to my dad first because I was interested in reconnecting and wanted to honour the process of meeting my grandmother through him and not necessarily my cousin first.
This led me to compose a message to make contact with my Dad and I sent it to him on Facebook on August 25th. My Dad and his wife, Roberta, messaged me back in a very warm and welcoming way.
I then spoke with my Dad for two hours on the phone on August 30th and the next day I went out to their place and spent a long time going over family pictures and having lunch together. So, in less than ten days, I had met my cousin Kerry, had dinner with him and Janet, reconnected with my Dad and met him and his wife for lunch. It felt like my prayers had opened up a whole new world and Father God was showing me His love and care in such a beautiful reconciliation with my birth father and family.
The song ‘Crystal Blue Eyes’
In the midst of this, on August 25th, I received a text from Kerry. “Good morning, lots I want to share… I feel honoured to walk with you in your journey. You blessed us immensely coming into our life. Amazed at God’s timing that you would Facebook Janet the exact day of our 15th anniversary. My soul has been touched in a good way. I usually get songs from things that impact me. This morning I got inspired to write a song about you. It’s going to be a good one… I would like to title it either ‘Blue Eyes’ or ‘Crystal Blue Eyes’ if you don’t mind the close association to your name.”
I was honoured to have a song written for me about my family reconciliation by my new found cousin. He proceeded to ask me if I would sing it with him and invited me to his show at the Waterworks Theatre in Wetaskiwin on October 18th. I said yes, and Kerry made arrangements for my Dad and his wife to be there. I had quite a few butterflies thinking about being on stage and singing a song that has so much meaning. Singing ‘Crystal Blue Eyes’ with Kerry was a very emotional part of the evening and I was so thankful to have been able to cry and still sing the song.
In between Kerry writing the song and us singing it together, I traveled to the USA for a month and returned on October 11th. The next day I had my first ever Thanksgiving Dinner with my Dad and his wife (Roberta) along with my grandmother and my aunt. It was the first time in my life to meet my grandmother and my aunt. We talked for hours.
My grandma brought two boxes of photos and shared story upon story and gave me a family book and signed it, “To Crystal. Love Grandma.” We cried, laughed and enjoyed many stories together along with some great food. I am blessed. I am thankful to God. I am glad to be able to share a positive and loving story of family reconciliation that started with a prayer and has many more beautiful moments to be written. We have all had much emotion through all of this.
It has been a blessing and positive experience, but it does not come without intense feelings. There have been many tears shed and much relief as we waited for DNA tests results and then were able to celebrate together.
My Dad and Roberta, along with Kerry and Janet, were able to share the good news of me in a creative way through a ‘birth announcement’ card as they told my grandma about me on September 24, 2014. Grandma was excited to find out and we made arrangements to meet on October 12th for Thanksgiving. Thus, the very thankful first Thanksgiving dinner with my Dad occurred and I was able to meet my grandmother for the first time in my life along with my aunt Melva and her little girl.
So, that somewhat sums up my story of faith and reconciliation with my birth father and family. I hope my story inspires and blesses everyone who reads it, or hears it. There is hope for those who have brokenness and pain in their past. Healing can happen. Reconciliation is possible. Prayer and forgiveness are a great place to start. “The LORD is close to the broken hearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” Psalms 34:18 (NLT).
Pictured: The first time Crystal reconnected with her dad in 23 years, August 31, 2014. Photo submitted to Barry McDonald