Redemption of the Undeserving

Carl opened his eyes and looked up at the concerned face of his 18 year old son and his pretty girlfriend whose name Carl had forgotten.

“Are you OK dad?” the young man asked as he stroked his father’s graying hair.

“I’m OK son,” he said, “just tired–I’ve been working long hours lately.”

Outside the barn black rain poured out of the night sky and lightening scoured the landscape with surreal white flashes.

Carl studied his son’s face taking note of the masculine features that had appeared out of nowhere in what seemed like just the last few weeks. In moments like this Carl wished he could share with his son some of the terrible choices he had made in his life–so the boy could avoid the relentless guilt and shame that always lurked behind even joyous moments and tore at his soul when life was not going well.

He knew full well it would change nothing except to damage the most important relationship he had in this dark and tormented world. He also knew full well his most basic agenda was the forgiveness he wanted like a drowning man wants air and the somehow possibility that redemption might be his, however undeserving he was of it.

As he always did in these moments he gratefully savored a modest sense of gratification at his own determination to carry his secrets to the grave–to never tell anyone–especially his son–the things he had done or failed to do.

Declining what he wanted most was his great gift to the one person he loved most in life and the solitary thing he treasured in himself.

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