I can see the roof of the house over the dense trees and just the sight of it sends my stomach to churning.
Standing there, I work to fight the panic building within my heart.
I have had this all planned out. I was going to worry all the way here, but when I walked in the door, I would carry myself as I left. I knew where I had been and what I had done, but they didn’t have to know…
“Oh, God, please – they don’t need to know, do they?”
My answer comes as my legs fail beneath the weight of my body. I try to move forward with my old, solid gait…but the last half ounce of pride in my heart dies with a quiet cry. My body freezes up again and I realize I need to fall towards the tree to my right or I will find myself face down in the dirt. Slamming into the solid trunk, I fall to my knees and allow myself to cry what I think are my last tears.
I have been walking for miles and every step closer has brought the bile up a little higher in my throat. Now my body physically works to release the stress as I crouch over a small patch of grass and I am left gasping for breath. My tears fall once again, but this time they burn as much as the liquid that came up my throat. My body is racked in pain as there is nothing left to give, but still my stomach works to squeeze out every drop of liquid left within me.
“I can’t do this,” I cry out again for what seems the millionth time today only to hear the same answer of “Trust Me” run across my ears on the breeze. It has been the same answer for 6 days of arguing. It doesn’t matter what I say or how wonderfully I say it, I hear the same three words. It kills me to see how closely trust and fear are related as it is nearly impossible to walk in one without the nagging of the other in the back of my mind.
Leaning my head back, I allow myself to fall to the ground. As the sun warms my face, I feel myself go numb for a moment as a gentle wind picks up and washes over me. I am overcome not onlyby the coolness of the air, but of the frangrance that kills off the stench that has invaded my nostrils every moment of this journey. I had almost forgotten what beauty smelled like – amazingly, it is the smell of home. But just as that realization hits me, a familiar chill chokes my heart as I remember again that I haven’t bathed in over a week. Sorrow washes over me again and I roll to my stomach to find that, amazingly, I still had tears left to cry.
“I can’t go in there like this. I stink so horribly that it can block out the pureness of air around me and I don’t want to have to explain where I had to have been in order carry this odor. No one will want to be within 50 feet of me and I will want to die from the humiliation…not that I already don’t want to be dead, but I could’ve died where I was and had it be a lot easier to bare. Don’t You understand that? Don’t You care?!?”
“If I didn’t care, I would have left you to die.”
This time the answer didn’t blow in on the breeze, but it came up from within my own body. It was so strong and clear as it rolled up through me that the sound of it echoing in my mind startled me. I have been talking aloud for over a week and have never once heard the answer from anywhere other than the wind around me. My mind jumped back to the day…
that horribly beautiful day…
when I first heard the voice call my name…
the day I was called to get up…and go back home.
“I can’t!!!” is all that screams out from my mind…the last of any energy balled up as an internal fist raised towards a God-filled sky, which slowly drops back to my side…pushed down by the ever-strengthening whisper:
“No. YOU can’t. But I can…so get up and walk thru that gate and trust Me.”
Empty, I stood.
Numbly, I reached for the latch that knew my hand as well as I knew the call of metal on metal as the flat, cool piece lifted itself smoothly…effortlessly against my touch. I could have screamed for the simplicity that it took to push open the doorway to the pathway that would take me back. I could have screamed…but that would have required emotion and at the first step of my foot onto the dirt road, I realized I had no functioning feeling left within me.
…until it echoed from down the road.
There, ahead of me, I could see the rising of the dust swirling, twirling around the shape of a person and I could hear the screams of a voice that I knew. All. Too. Well.
“Oh, Lord! He saw me? I don’t even have the dignity of getting to surprise him with my approach? He is going to kill me! He is going to hate me! He is going to drag me by my ear into the yard and humiliate me for all I’ve done! You knew this and You give me absolutely nothing in this? Why?…why?!?!”
Falling to my knees in shame, I bowed down to the path that brought my father to me. The dirt mingled with my sweat, coating my face with the filth that had embedded my soul since I left. Broken, I waited in a humble position…
for the yelling…
for anything but the hug that pulled me from the ground and into his arms.
His tears flowed as he screamed with joy…
“You are HOME!!! Oh, my child… I have missed you… prayed for your return to my arms and here you are!! Are you ok? Did you miss me? I love you!!! Oh thank You, sweet Lord…my child has come home!!”
…and, tho I would have said it was impossible for anything more
…it was then and there that I was fully and completely undone.
Looking up, as always…