Wednesday, November 10, 2010


The sun was setting low over the houses across from ours.  The street lights would soon be on,  illuminating the thousands of tiny, flittering bugs that seemed to spawn from those lamps.  The air was thick, like it always was.  Hot and thick.

The evening meal was regular, maybe it was soup with ice berg lettuce and little pieces of chopped tomato served on paper plates.  He was there that night.  His presence always welcomed, yet always heavy like the air around us.  The rattan and metal chair balked at his shifting weight.  As his feet shuffled under the chair, positioning his legs just so, the pain would be better.  He would eat voraciously.  Every last bite of that iceberg lettuce gone.  He'd wipe at the corners of his mouth with napkin first.  Then came the handkerchief for his nose.  Then he would speak.

He bent at the waist, leaning over table.  Thick, rough fingers curved in rest a top the worn glass as if on piano keys.  His burnished skin shone in the dim light of candelabra bulbs.  As usual, his thick silver hair was not a strand out of place.  And in his dark, smiling eyes I saw something new.
I was still a girl really, but old, and old enough to know what the knowing looks like.

He recounts the story of the prodigal son from the Bible.  With lips pressing, then parting, his head tilts and his brow creases deeper.  His thick, brown fingers tap the glass with growing pressure as he is connecting the long ago story with something now,  recent and deeply hidden.  He struggles with the things he cannot put to words.  And never had I seen into his heart like this.

"He's chasing after us, like the father and that son.... the prodigal....  we run from Him and...   He   runs after   us."  he chokes it out with the first tears I can ever remember him shedding.

By some standards, he was already an old man, but I still a child.  I remember thinking my greatest prayer answered.

"Yes Daddy.  He does."


  1. beautiful.

    your memory is so vivid it seems as though i were at the table.

    tears of joy, tears of peace
    shared with you.

    i love you, Dear One.
    and how i would like to embrace him at this very moment :)

  2. this is beautiful! i am so thankful for my new friend today...i hope we stay connected...i am hoping to write soon on my blog about "the Prodigal God" by Tim Keller and the sermons I've been listening to--do you know these? blessings friend!

  3. that was awesome...i love the prodigal...bc i can so relate....

  4. So beautifully told! The images are lovely. What a sweet, sweet moment, lovingly rendered.

    So glad you visited me today. I'm so glad to have met you! Blessings on your writing.

  5. Oh Kara....this is truly an amazing piece of beautiful prose...the prodigal son is such an important story in the relevant in all lives...and you have captured that in your words...i just love this!
    Thank you for all your kind words over at my blog. :-)

  6. utterly lovely...I've been reading RETURN OF THE PRODIGAL by Henri Nouwen...thank you for sharing such a precious memory.

  7. this made me cry. Just beautiful.

  8. Thank you for letting me peek into your beautiful intimate memory. Pure sweetness. I smile at the wonder of how we are loved. Precious!

  9. oh kara, how beautifully written. utterly and truly. i could see him, he was so physically present. and to see a grown man cry--you know, it's spirit-moving. oh, kara. well done, friend. xo

  10. I can so relate . . . and look forward to heaven where my mama prodigal is and the bitterness and shame gone.

    Thank you for sharing . . .

    It's my first time visiting you & joining Imperfect Prose

  11. This is truly beautiful and worth celebrating. And you can be sure the angels are singing and celebrating as well. Blessings on you. Love your writing!

  12. Kara,
    Your description of that scene with your Dad is simply beautiful.
    It brought tears to my eyes, and after your Dad read it, I got the feeling that he was very moved and honored that you wrote it. I am so glad you had that moment together. I don't specifically recall that scene, so I may not have been there at the time, but your writing made me feel like I WAS. We love you so much.
    Love, Mom