Daniel wouldn’t look back; didn’t want to lose his nerve. He threw his last bag into the back seat of his ’85 Mustang, and got in. “Well, this is it pal; no turnin’ back,” he said. The engine roared to life and he drove away.
*** *** *** ***
Father watched from the window as Daniel, left home. His square jaw set rigid, mouth quivering. He clenched his fists, unclenched, clenched again, fighting the urge to run after Daniel. He would not. He must let Daniel go. Daniel made his decision and that must be honored. He was off to spread his wings, do things his way, as he put it.
Tears streaked Father’s broad face, splattering onto the floor. “He will come home,” Father announced, his voice faltering.
I had never seen Father cry before. Daniel finally succeeded in breaking Father’s heart; nothing would repair it.
Daniel was always one to do things his way, scorning any method not his own. He and Father talked each other in circles countless times, over some of the lamest ideals; but always about business. There were times I was certain they would come to blows, but Father never allowed it; he always ended the conversation with some sort of compromise.
“Why do you allow him to be so obstinate?” Mama asked him one day.
“Has he dishonored you, Mama?” Father asked.
“No,” came her simple reply.
“And he has not dishonored me. His arguments are not to question authority; they are to show he is a man. We must allow him to grow; sometimes the growth of a child causes the parent much pain. Besides” he added with a chuckle, “some of his ideas have helped the family business.”
Mama thought for a moment, then, “Well, I guess they don’t call them growing pains for nothing.”
Growing pains; I’ll give him pain! I hate him for what he’s done to Father and Mama! I watched as she pleaded for Daniel to stay. I was there when Father wrapped her tight in his arms while they bathed each other in their tears! Finally, they gave Daniel his share of the inheritance and blessed him as he walked out the door.
I hope Father is wrong! I hope he never returns, for his own sake!
*** *** ***
“Father, why all the excitement? What is this celebration?” For the first time in years, since Daniel left, I saw Father smile. He was dancing like a schoolboy, grabbing Mama and twirling her around. She laughed too, her brown eyes like great pools of chocolate!
Father looked at me; his sea-green eyes sparkled as he told me the news, “Your brother Daniel has come home, just as I knew he would! Your mama and I are planning a huge reception for him!” With that, he skipped off to call the neighbors, family and all of his friends, who had prayed for Daniel’s return.
Moments later, I saw Daniel. Every fiber of my being wanted to run him off. Father was so happy though, if I did that, it would crush him. I’ll just have to think of some other way then. Maybe I could dig up some horrible thing about his time away. If it embarrasses the family name, Father would never allow him to stay!
Right away, I went to work to find something. It wasn’t nearly as difficult as I thought it would be. Daniel squandered the inheritance Father had given him; most of it on gambling, and women. Father would never allow him to remain with this information. I hastened to tell Father before too many reception arrangements had been made.
“Yes I know.” Father smiled. “Daniel told me. I forgive him.” He was so accepting of the situation; I became angry.
“What do you mean? He broke your heart! I have been here this whole time! I have done everything you asked, without question! I have never done anything wrong, and you did not throw me a party!” I could not believe Father! How could he be so kind to Daniel? He hurt us; left me to do all the work!
“David,” compassion filled Father’s voice. “You are right. Daniel left. He caused our hearts pain. Nothing could repair the heart of your mother or me, except for Daniel. He has returned home, and repented; he was dead, and now is alive. As God forgave me, so I will forgive. This brings healing to our heart.”
1 Corinthians 13
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