The younger man sat across from his father, concern showing
on both their faces. The family
resemblance was absolutely striking; you’d know they belonged together if you
saw them anywhere under any circumstance.
The conversation between them had been going on for a while and although
there were several other men in the room, the others would not dare to have spoken. This was a powerful man – one to be served
and feared and this was strictly between him and his son. The others were there to serve when summoned
and to be silent until such a summons occurred.
“Father,” the younger man began, “I know you don’t like
it. I know that this troubles you beyond
imagination, but it was you who told me that it must be done. I believed you then and I believe you now.”
“No person who understands the responsibility of being in
authority relishes sending another on such a terrible assignment. If I could, you know that I would do this
“But that’s just the point, father. You can’t, and I’m the only one who can.” The father stood up and began to pace around
“I sometimes wonder why I started all of this. Some people can be so ungrateful – and talk
about stubborn! I fear that they’ll
never appreciate what you’re doing.”
“Some will, father.
Those are the ones for whom I do this.
I know how you think – if there were a thousand or a dozen or even one,
you’d still do what you needed to do, and so will I. We can give them the chance they need. We can guarantee them survival. Once the door is open, they must choose to
walk through it, and many will.”
“Oh I see that,” his father replied, “but it makes it no
“Everything you’ve done you’ve done because you care. That’s what makes you different. That’s why people seek you out and why the
follow you. If not for you, none of this
would be possible and because of you we can make the possible real.” One of the men who had been standing near the
door approached the two. He did not
speak – there was no need.
“It’s time for me to go,” the younger man said. His father put both his arms around him, pulled
him close and briefly let his emotions show on his face. He then clenched his jaw with resolve. The younger man turned and walked from the
room. The father watched until he was
out of sight then turned his back to the door.
He put his hand on the silent man’s shoulder and wiped a single tear
from his eye.
“I don’t think I’ve ever cried before,” he explained. “It is a very strange sensation.”
Days passed into years before his son’s return. The quiet bodyguard made sure that the son
was carefully watched and given whatever help was possible. The father was constantly kept informed of everything
that affected his son. He said nothing,
but it was obvious that he was pleased with his son’s progress. Even so, the assignment was every bit as
onerous as he knew it would be.
Unfortunately there was no way to change that.
The day of the son’s return was a stormy one marked not only
by thunder and lightning but the shaking of the very earth. The final hours of waiting were tense
throughout the entire household. Everyone
knew and couldn’t wait for him to return, but every assignment, every mission,
every effort hinges on what is done at the very end. Everything else is preparation for that final
action. That moment was at hand.
They heard the young man call out, “Father!”
The older man continued to sit in his chair, his knuckles white
against the arm rests. They heard the
young man call out again and the father ran to the door. When his son appeared the father embraced him
as he had when he had left. This time
the tears were tears of joy and they flowed freely.
“I always knew you would succeed!” he said with pride. “I knew that from the very beginning, but it
is such a relief that it is over and I have you back.” He continued to hold onto his son’s
shoulders, but extended his arms so as to look at him. The father positively beamed. He took his son’s hands.
“Such a terrible price to pay,” he said as he looked at the wounds
where nails had pierced his son’s wrists.
“You love them. I
love them. They’re our people and now
they are reclaimed.” The young man
looked past his father at the bodyguard.
“Michael,” he began, “Thank you for being there last night
when I was all alone praying. I really
appreciated your support. It was a
terribly lonely night for me and I needed a friend.” He turned back to his father.
“Hopefully they’ll realize how much you love them so as to
send your only son.”
“Even so, it was very,
very hard,” the father replied. “I hope to
never experience such pain again.”
The son looked at his father and said, “I have a few last
minute details to take care of on earth then my disciples need to carry on from
there.” He saw the expression on his
father’s face. “I promise that I’ll only
make a few brief visits and be home between them.”
He looked into his father’s eyes, “It’s good to be home. I missed you as much as you missed me!”