I need my father. I finally acknowledge the fact. I had needed him since I went bankrupt, and found out that I had no friend, only parasites, latching on till I was sucked dry before moving on to their next victim.
I need him now that i had become dry, withered and wilted, tossed by the winds of ill fate, my inheritance having taken up wings and flown far away and comfort now a mirage.
I make my way home, along the familiar path I thought I wouldn’t tread again, a broken man, but a wiser one. Now I know that he whose yam is big does not blow his horns.
I know what I must do, my pride will not get in the way. Grovel I must and wait upon my father till he makes me one of his hired servants.
I near home and bow my head, my eyes scorn me, my heart mocks me. How I had fallen from grace to grass! I will my legs to go on, to take that next step, the step that brings me nearer home, nearer to redemption. This is my only hope.
I look up startled at the sound of approaching footsteps, I was lost in thought and didn’t hear them before. My heart picks up beat as I register the face before me. My mouth go dry and all my carefully rehearsed speeches vanishes. I realize I am not ready to meet him yet. I need more time.
I open my mouth but nothing comes out, I close it and open it again but can’t find the words. I give up and just stare.
My mouth hang open and my hands remain limp at my side and I can’t respond for shock. He is hugging me! My father is hugging me!
His frown I expected, rejection I was prepared for but not this. Not his smile, not a hug, and definitely not the tears that are sliding down his eyes.
I come undone and fall apart, all the tears I swore not to shed while I wallowed in penury come flooding and pour in torrents .
“Father” I croak, “I have sinned against you and against heaven, and I’m not worthy to be called your son”. I swallow a lump. “please make me one of your hired servants”
I feel a lightness in my heart, it doesn’t matter what happens next, I know things will be alright.
He hugs me one more time, holds me at arms length and looks me over, and shakes his head slowly. My heart plummets, I am not welcome.
I catch a twinkle in his eyes and his face breaks out in a slow smile, “Son, you look awful” he says and burst out laughing. I am stunned. Did he just call me son? Son?! My heart soar and I join in the laughter.
He stops abruptly and frowns. I become confused. Have I done anything wrong? Did I misinterprete his laughter?
He was speaking to one of the servants now “hurry, bring the best robe for my son and then kill the fattest cow, my son which was lost is found. My dead son is alive again!”
I can’t believe it. I don’t deserve this. Several thoughts run amok in my mind, and one is loudest- this is a dream. Like the several others before it, where I dream of my father’s forgiveness only to wake up the next morning feeling worse.
The taste of butter and milk in my mouth is real, the feel of silk against my skin is definitely real, and the warmth of my father’s hand over mine as we walk in the garden isn’t imagined. it is all real.
I am home, and above all, I’m forgiven.