a return observed, another view

Posted: May 3, 2013 in Uncategorized

I had been worrying about my parents for weeks.  I watched fear and grief pressing down on them.  Saw as my mom seemed to lose her grip on her quiet faith, her expression growing dim, her voice getting dull.  Noticed that my dad spent less time in the house – seemed to be always out pacing in the fields, sometimes angry. 

I had been angry for a long time, but I didn’t have the energy to be mad at my younger brother anymore.  Truth was, I was worried too.  I hated the way he had left, but he was my brother.  Though I had thought I could just put him out of my memory, thoughts of all the terrible end he might meet haunted me.  But there was nothing I could do for him.  So I worked harder around the farm, trying to lighten my father’s load.   And I prayed. 

The afternoon that he returned, I happened to be in a field up near the road.  I didn’t know him at first, dirty and thin as he was, walking with stooped shoulders and hanging head.  But something about him left an urgency in me – a need to follow.  I made sure to stay back enough not to be seen, though surely there could be nothing to fear from this pathetic figure. 

I didn’t realize it was my brother until I saw my dad rushing headlong toward him.  I wanted to cry out, to rush forward.  I had never seen my dad run quite like that.  But still, I hung back, watching.  My brother raised his head when my dad was almost upon him, flinching into a defensive pose.  I wasn’t close enough to hear the words at first.  Just watched as my dad stopped, midstride, hesitating for a moment as my brother tried to speak.  And then Dad was upon him, hugging him, swinging him around.  There were shouts of joy and my brother just stood there, looking confused.  But he seemed to be okay, didn’t he?  Looked like a bath and a few good meals might turn him back into the little brother I had always known. 

I backed away, quietly, and slipped off to a distant field.  I would give my parents the grace – the dignity – of some space while they welcomed him home.  They would need to talk with him – to lay down the law.  There would be consequences for his choices.  They would have to help him see that he just couldn’t come back home and pick up where he had left off, as if there were no problem with what he had done.  It was going to be a painful process. 

I didn’t need to insert myself into that. 

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