A meditation on Luke 15:24.
“For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.”
Sounds & voices:
harmonies from my childhood ring out from the bathroom,
French songs my father used to play from the radio.
(I sing along with my broken French in my head)
The image as he gets ready for work, I am swept away into nostalgia,
a sweetness I had been craving
my last six months in Nashville
I am home.
I dream of my father as a young man,
handsome and determined, very large glasses on a skinny frame
making his way as a young African in newly independent Senegal
or roaming the rues of Paris in search of a bon café,
a noir in a sea of pale blanc.
Perhaps a blonde girlfriend by his side
as they bravely dare to redefine cultural taboos
and overcome the racial socio-political walls between them.
Just as soon, the Accura dealer is over the speaker
reminding me that his new cars will bring me joy
since my old Ford has a dented fender
and expired plates.
I am American again. The image is clear;
my father, too, is American again,
his citizenship codified some years ago
by an oath and deep blue passport in hand.
What was lost in gaining this new identity?
I wonder as a few salty tears gently sliding down my cheeks surprise me
and I am aware of the small lump
in my throat.
Happiness or sadness?
Sometimes for me, they are the same.
I am grateful to be home again,
to find what I had been looking for.
I am getting my life force back in to me slowly,
everyday I am here, a little more.
It was God’s grace that brought me home
so that we all
may be free to live again.