Writer Author Cheryl Russell
- Fiction Yes
I stepped into heaven and was swept into a bear hug. I couldn’t breathe because my face was crushed into a broad chest.
“You’re home!” my Father said as He squished me tighter.
After several seconds Father released me. I stepped back and looked into deep blue eyes that sparkled. A warm wave engulfed me when He smiled. His fingers pushed a lock of hair out of my eyes and then rested on the side of my face. “I’ve missed you while you were gone”, He said. “But now that you’re home, I have something to show you!” He grabbed my hand and started down a golden street. We walked hand in hand for three blocks, then turned a corner. My jaw dropped as I looked left, then right.
Before me stretched an endless wall covered with photographs. Father dropped my hand as I stepped closer. We crept down the sidewalk, gazing at the pictures. So many! “Look at this one,” He said and pointed to one at eye level. I leaned forward and squinted.
It was me! A large gold plaque engraved with my name and “Daughter” hung under my picture. I looked closer at the other plaques. They all had a name, followed by “son” or “daughter”. Realization dawned. The wall held family photos! Father grinned, pleased with His surprise.
“This is my favorite place,” He said. “Here I’m surrounded by my children.” He called to some people further down the street. “Jose! Greta! Ivan! Come meet your sister!” Before long, I was surrounded by new brothers and sisters, all clamoring for my attention. But in the middle of all the excitement, Father grew silent. His eyes narrowed, His forehead wrinkled, and He held up a hand. Our chattering stopped. He tilted His head and listened.
After several seconds, a wide grin split Father’s face. He clapped His hands and laughed. Then He cupped His hands and waited. A picture materialized; another child to display on the family wall. Father held it out for everyone to see.
“This is your brother Caleb!” Father announced. He gave us a minute or two to study the picture, then turned and faced the wall. He held Caleb to His chest with one hand and placed His square jaw in the other as He studied the rows of pictures. His gaze fixed on an empty spot. With both hands, Father lifted Caleb to his place in the first row, third photo from the right. Father stepped back and gazed at His children on the wall that has no beginning or end. He opened His arms wide. His eyes shone with a light that came from within; His smile brighter than a thousand suns.
“The celebration we’ll have when you are all home!”
Once more He cocked His head and listened. His eyes danced and He clapped His hands. “More family has arrived!” He threw back His head and laughed. But before He left, He reached out and hugged me once more. He bent forward and whispered in my ear, “I love you and I’m glad you’re finally home!”
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