Old bones creaking and aching from the kneeling. Hands warped with the weave and weft of life don’t quite meet as they once did. And looking back the prayers and wishes she had made over many years had not yet come to pass. But still she turns up, every day, as the bell tolled and the doors opened. Making her way carefully to the back pew she slides along to the usual spot and kneels in supplication.
Slowly she forms an image in her mind of a child holding the hand of his father. She scrolls forward through the years that have since passed, gently imagining how he changes over time. By the time she finishes he is full grown. Reaching out her hand to him he catches it for all to see and tears of joy stream down her face.
Opening her eyes she looks about her to see what, if anything, has changed. Nothing. With a sigh, she gets up and makes her way to the doors, nodding to the priest on the way out.
He watches her from the sidelines, always there just in case keeping her in his thoughts and prayers to the almighty, hoping that whatever brings her to the Church each day will eventually come to pass.
A new day dawns, the bell tolls and the priest opens the doors. He is surprised to find there is no-one waiting and then begins a worrisome thought train. Throughout the course of the day he pops in and out of the great edifice, but no, she is not there. They’ve never been on speaking terms and strictly speaking she’s not a member of his pastoral flock so he has no way of finding her. He worries in silence, praying to his God that all is well.
The nine o’clock news marks the end of his day and he settles back to find out what’s been happening in the world.
And there she is. A smile as wide as the sky covering her face and eyes sparkling with unshed tears. Beside her, a younger man. And they are hugging and kissing, and he listens to the story about a child stolen from his father’s side 30 years ago.
(Inspired by the news out of China on May 20, 2020 about a child found 32 years after being snatched)
(image courtesy: Martin Duss @ Pixabay.com)