I hadn’t been a good son for years. I had my reasons, so I just stayed away. Now I was going home for the holiday. It was dark and wet and cold, and as usual, I was late. To save time I cut through a baseball field near the house. Before I reached the infield, the smell hit me – I had forgotten how the geese love these fields, and now their “dirt” was jammed into the soles of my shoes. Then, in my hurry and with the wet grass, I stepped in a muddy puddle and slipped. My hands were full with bags of food for the evening – my contribution to the reconciliation meal so long in coming. I went down face first into the disgusting grass, soiling my clothes and dumping the food. It couldn’t be worse. I smelled like a sewer, and the carefully chosen peace-offering was ruined.
As I mounted the front steps and knocked, it crossed my mind to turn back. As the porch light came on, I no longer wondered. Now I saw how disgustingly filthy I was.
Before I could move, the door swung open and I saw my father’s face. He quickly scanned me from head to toe and exclaimed, “Come in my son. We have a wonderful meal for you, and we’ve all been waiting. I can’t tell you how great it is to see you. Nothing could make me happier than you’re being here with me tonight. I thought my heart would break from missing you.”