a father’s embrace

Posted: April 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

He didn’t see me running toward him.  How could he not notice?  He was so lost in his world, staring at the spot right in front of his feet, feet dragging slowly along in the dirt.  The pallor of his skin under the dirt and the slump of his shoulders made me wonder if he was going to just fall over, or sit down and not move again.  Still, I sprinted, my heart soaring, to reach him. 

In the last moment he looked up.  His eyes met mine.  His hands flew up in front of his face and his knees bent a bit as he cowered.  Oh my.  Had his experience out in the world been so harsh?  I would need to approach more gently then. 

I halted in front of him, my blood singing in my veins, drawing great, deep breaths of joy.  His eyes were wary, his voice small and low.  “Father,” he called me.  Oh, how I had longed to hear his voice call me father again.  He tripped over his words.  I tried to listen.  Really I did.  But my arms couldn’t hold back another minute.  Scooping him up into a hug, cutting off whatever he was trying to say.  He was so light as I lifted him – amidst the celebration of his return, my heart ached at all of these quiet evidences of the consequences he had been living.  He looked bewildered.  He probably needed sleep.  A good hot meal.  He must be so dehydrated!  Look at those lips!  His clothes and hair hung limp on him.  So frail.  I had never seen my boy look frail before. 

Now some of the farm hands were working their way across the field to us, their eyes wide.  “My boy is home!”  My shouts carried across the fields, probably even as far as the house.  “Change of plan for the day,” as they came nearer.  “Tonight, we celebrate!”  And I was issuing orders, rapid fire.  A great feast.  A fine robe, to replace these filthy rags.  A family ring – a reminder that his place was always with us.  So much to do! 

Meanwhile, the boy needed cleaning up.  “Come on, my son.”  My arm was around his shoulders, gently pulling him toward the house with me.  “Let’s go tell your mother this great news.” 

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