Posts Tagged ‘son’

You Found Me

Friday, August 30th, 2013


The tremulous touch of God’s presence is the palpable essence of electricity in the air before lightning touches the barren earth and thunder roars across the sky. This was what I felt when I encountered you. The hair raising slowness of breath when one encounters the Divine. Yet you, the unassuming, the plain, the patchwork pattern of a human being, knew not what was hidden behind your graying cataract eyes. Could you possibly have known? Could it possibly have been you? Cross knitted eyebrows and deeply etched forehead disguised in the baggy weightless clothing of a man lost under his own skies; I found God.

I suppose it took me a while to get to this point. I looked and searched for where it was that I found you, made up my own stories or even pretended I never felt your touch, but now I see with eyes wide open when it was that I saw your face truly for the first time. It was here. Tel Aviv, Israel, lost in the whirlwind of pigeons taking flight, creatures finding their wings, that I first encountered the divine. It may sound silly or even slightly deranged, but it is true, maybe even the truest part of me, that has seen within the faces of ordinary men, the image from which we were created. Felt the lightnings grip grab hold of my heart strings and play my soul like a harp into the deafening thunder of life’s storm. This was the first.

Another day in Israel. I walked in a huge group of my peers and as we moved on from one place to the next I noticed the swarm. The ebb and flow of flight and earth, of nourishment and hallowed hollowness. A man stood in their midst throwing crumbs to the birds who encircled him. He, the host of these winged creatures, the eye of the storm. In the flight of the birds he looked up and gazed right at me. Out of the entire group of forty, I was the one he locked eyes with and I felt the staggering weight of a gaze I could not hold.  I thought him homeless, and when he stopped what he was doing to make his way to where I stood, I felt as if I could not breathe. That if I could hold my breath long enough, I could stop the world from spinning, could stop his feet from moving, but he knew the path he had to travel whether I willed it or not. I was afraid of the stranger who approached so directly, who stared deeply into my eyes without ever knowing me, but some how, unwavering and unquestionably he knew. I was afraid as he came so close, and I knew not what to do or where to turn. To shout? To retreat? To escape this force of nature bound in the humble being of this man. I did nothing. I stood still, wired by his electricity that only I seemed to see.

He came to me with open hands, he came to me and called me mother, sister, daughter, he called me home. He looked into my eyes and told me that here, here I would always have a home. He told me he would give me the shirt off his back. He told me that he had nothing, but would give me whatever I asked. He told me I would always have a place to rest my head. He told me that I was home. Why? Because we were family. Because we all were tied beyond the binding of blood, bound by our utter being. We are one, we all have the same Father, and he his son and I his daughter.

He did not even know my name, yet he offered me all he had and beyond that, he offered me what he knew would and always had belonged to me, love. He offered me the obvious, the object of my desire that I had time and time again always failed to see. An eternal love that was beyond me, beyond him into the electricity of non-being.

His gaze never left my eyes as he offered, as he gave, as he sacrificed, as he begged me to understand. I didn’t. Days, weeks, months later, I didn’t understand. But now, now I finally think I am beginning to understand what it was his aging eyes begged of me. He was asking me to come home.

I had long ago lost the way, found myself in a dark wood where the forward way was lost with no Virgil to guide me. I had wandered into the desolation of my own accord, blaming the world, blaming him, and not understanding that through it all and finally at the end of it all, it was Him begging me to come home.

He was not homeless. He had a home that was open and welcome to all who cared to stop and listen to his kind empathetic words. He was direct and almost frightening, but only to the eye that knew not what he was. Strength is frightening, especially when we are so weak, but that does not make it cruel. He seemed a beggar because he was. He was the father begging the son to come home. The mother begging for the life of her children. Begging, broken and bruised, he begged for me, he begged for you. If there be only one righteous, let them live. Let them live let them live.

I didn’t know it yet, but at that very moment the lightning flash of this encounter resurrected me, brought me back to life into this utterly new being. Brought to life in the eye of the storm, I have not yet found my way out of the darkness but with new life comes new strength to forge on into the great unknown. I can, I finally can, knowing that at the end of every road is my ever welcoming home.





Thursday, May 24th, 2012

The post of the mailbox shook, reverberating the metal mailbox with a steady but anxious beat. Like a drum struck with hesitant but impatient strokes of a hand not quite large enough to have a melody or harmony of its own, the mailbox sang its steady tune. The hand struck the mailbox post absentmindedly, not even aware of the affect that enabled the mailbox to sing. Hanging listless and open the small hand swung like a pendulum back forward and down again, encountering the slowly splintering wood that was breaking apart under the stress that had not yet cracked the young boy. The pendulum of this grandfather clock belonged to a young boy and each swing of his short but sinewy arm kept the beat of a clock counting out the seconds, then minutes, and eventually hours of the day with all the consistency of the human heart and its resounding drumbeat.

The mailbox faced forward but the boy faced the side, looking down the long stretching road all the way until it terminated at a bend. Even as the wind blew around him shaking the trees and causing the little red upright flag to hum gently into his ear, the little boy stood upright with all the attentiveness of a sentry on duty, watching the road that remained unchanged save for the few leaves which had been torn from their branches and cast into the sea of asphalt. Every once and a while his eyes would briefly wander to follow the leaves as they tumbled without grace or passion across the road, desperately trying to grab onto a crack in the road so as not to be blown away. At the slightest noise he would snap his attention back to the bend in the road, righting himself and mentally berating himself for his lack of discipline. But still, every so often, his eyes would wander. Blue and determined they focused on the end of the road, waiting. The only thing in his way was himself. His sandy yellow hair kept being blown into his face by a playful gust of wind, blocking his perfect view. But he was in no mood to play, he was on duty. So he would purse his lips with displeasure just as he had watched his mother do time and time again and with a huff of breath blew the strands of hair from his eyes, enabling him to return to his watch. But still the wind tousled his hair like an affectionate hand being run through his light shaggy hair. A small smile cracked his reserved exterior as he felt the wind’s fingers run through and play with his hair-

The smile was torn from his face with a sudden and sharp pinch from the abused wooden mailbox post. With a loud yelp of pain the little boy hunched over slightly to shelter his hand and observed his battle wound with pouting lips. The little splinter sticking out from the side of his hand stung with the pain of a knife from the vindictive mailbox post. With shaky but practiced fingers the little boy used his fingernails to carefully remove the splinter leaving only a small angry red dot of blood behind. Sucking on the side of his hand to get rid of the sting and the blood, the boy eyed the mailbox post with malice burning in his hurt eyes. Pricked with pain he felt his anger build in his chest like a bad cough. Suddenly he lashed out and kicked the post. The metal mailbox let out a shriek but otherwise remained unmoved. The pain built in him until his eyes burned and brimmed with tears. Pain more than a splinter could supply. With all the might in his small frame he kicked the post again, and again, and again until the splintered wood creaked and groaned. The upright red flag shook and quaked under the pent up pain of the little boy. Crying out in his rage he gave a final desperate kick to the mailbox post, unearthing it from its sentry spot sending it crashing to the ground in one violent movement. The metal mailbox crashed to the ground, unhinging its jaw on an unfriendly rock where it had fallen, spilling its contents onto the street: one lonely letter.

Blinking back his sudden outburst of rage, the little boy surveyed the damage he had done. The casualty of war lay on the ground before him, slain by his own hands and feet. Seeing the letter lying there he felt a regret and a guilt burn inside of him that was greater than any anger could have been. The tears that had come to his eyes out of anger, now spilled out of regret. He flung himself to the concrete ground trying to grab the letter as the wind picked it up and blew it farther away. “No please, I’m sorry,” he screamed as he chased it down the street. The wind tore the letter across the jagged road tearing it until it caught desperately in a crack in the road. The little boy leapt and grabbed the letter in his small fists, letting out a triumphant laugh as he held it in his hands. Scratched from the road and bleeding, he slowly returned to the fallen mailbox. Tucking the crumpled and slightly torn letter into his pocket he tenderly picked up the mailbox returning it to its rightful place. The only noticeable sign of the battle was a slight tilt left behind by an act of rage that could not be fixed entirely. He worked carefully and tenderly to place the hinge of the mailbox door back into its place and rub off the dirt from its shiny metal surface which the ground had tainted. When it looked almost right he took out the letter from his pocket, simply addressed with one word, smoothed out as many wrinkles as he could, and gently placed it back into its sheltered cove inside the mailbox’s mouth. Then he turned with tracks of tears running down his dirt smudged face to face the bend in the road which was now blocked by a square white van.

The old mail truck pulled up to house number 187 as it did every single day, as it had always done and would always do. In front of the sole house out in the deserted wooded area that had slowly but surely lost its population as the military base had moved out to another location, stood the little boy who had stood there now for everyday of the last year and a half. Charlie let out a sigh, put the truck into park and slowly got out of the truck to look down at the little boy. Charlie let out a sigh as he stood over the little boy who had normally been so patient and put together but now stood before him a scuffed up mess. His jeans where ripped, his white shirt stained with dirt and possibly a little blood, and his sandy head of hair sat as a disheveled mess on his head. The little boy didn’t say anything but smiled a little as he sniffled and wiped the tears from his face. He looked up at Charlie with a newborn excitement, which was actually never new, it had been that same look for the last year and a half as the little boy did as he always did. He rushed to the mailbox, opened its bruised jaw, which squeaked now as he pried it open, removed the letter, and reverently handed it to the mailman.

Charlie heaved another sigh, his cheeks filling with air like sails in the wind, he removed his hat and slowly rubbed his quickly thinning hair as he watched the little boy hold up the letter with a big smile across his tear stained face. Kneeling down he placed a large calloused hand on the boys shoulder. It lay there heavy and solid, it made the little boy frown under its weight.

“You know kid, it’s been over a year and a half now-“

“578.300148 days”

“… Yeah. I know that is hard to hear, but little man, he’s gone.”

The little boy slowly looked away, back down the road that he had watched for so long. The smile slipped from his cheeks, which were still plump with innocence and eyes that still burned to believe.

“I know. Just one last time.”

The little boy held out the letter again this time not with the usual smile but a smile filled with pain and hope. Charlie looked with pity in his heart at the young boy, forced a smile on his face, and took the crumpled letter from the boy. They didn’t exchange another word, just looked into each other’s eyes knowing that that letter would never be received, but both hoping that it would be. Charlie laid a hand on the boy’s head and ruffled his hair. He nodded towards the little boy’s home and turned back to his mail truck, which bent and swayed as he stepped back inside and started the it with a great protest of sound. The little boy smiled, waved, and turned away. He ran down the gravel path that cut through the dark woods where just beyond sight, a woman stood on a porch with her thin arms wrapped around a column as she stood just as silent, just as determined, watching the path as she did everyday for her little boy to come home. As soon as she heard him coming home she would wipe the tears from her face and go about the house as if she had not abandoned everything to wait for her son. AS if she had not been waiting every minute of every day just as her son down at the edge of the road.

Charlie shook his head as the truck lurched back into motion down the long lonely road. He placed the letter on the seat next to him in a pile of others, all neat and crisp except the newest addition which was crumpled and torn. Five hundred and seventy nine letters sat on the old passenger seat cushion entitled with only one word; Dad.