The Mayfield airport teemed with people. All of them seemed to know where they were going. I didn’t. Part of me wanted to run to the exit, find a taxi, and go home. But I was scared. Maybe this was my fatal mistake.
“Are you here for the Annual Medical Convention?” I overhead an impeccably dressed lady ask another traveler.
“Indeed, I am. It’ll be good this year.”
“Yes! With Dr. Luke Jacobson speaking… always a pleasure to listen,” the lady agreed.
They moved on, but I stood still. Medical convention. Of course. It was July. How could I have forgotten? Well, that sealed the deal. Daddy wouldn’t have time for his broken little girl this weekend.
I caught my reflection in a windowpane. I’d lost 20 pounds from my formerly slim figure. My face had aged beyond my early twenties. My threadbare clothes boasted no designer names. I looked awful.
Nevertheless, with some twisted sense of crazy hope, I found myself walking toward the sign that said ‘Baggage Claim’. I stepped on the escalator that descended down to the arrivals section. From my vantage point, I saw doctors greeting each other and families reuniting. Then I saw Daddy. He held a sign that said ‘Dr. Lewis Meier’.
I half-turned to run back up the escalator, but the crowd behind me prevented me from escaping.
Daddy looked up. I knew the instance he recognized me. The sign fell to the floor. His lips formed my name. “Alison!” Joy lit his face as he surged through the mass of people to the foot of the escalator.
Forgetting all my reservations, I flew into his arms. He held my head and let me cry, his tears dripping on my hair. “Daddy,” I finally managed. “I’m sorry. So, so sorry. I was wrong. Can I come back? I can cook now, I’ll do that. Or clean. Or-”
“Welcome home, Ali,” he said. “My little girl is finally home.”
I pulled back. “You don’t know what I’ve done- who I’ve become.”
“It doesn’t matter. None of it will ever matter to me. All that matters is that you are back where you are meant to be.”
We walked out of the airport arm in arm.
“But your speech, Daddy!” I protested as we left the airport parkade.
He smiled. “That’s not my priority. Nevertheless, I better tell all my colleagues that I’m not planning to attend the conference today.”
He picked up his phone. “I’ll ask them to excuse my absence and invited them to drop by our house for a party later in the afternoon.”
I stared at him. And suddenly I believed everything he’d said. It didn’t matter who I’d been. My silly mistakes, my thoughtless errors, and even my premeditated sins- it was like I’d never committed any of them. No more was I Ali, the lead singer of a mediocre street band; or Ali, the pianist’s girlfriend; or Ali, the waitress in a restaurant no one would recommend to their worst enemy.
I was Alison, the daughter of Dr. Jacobson.
Cook outdid herself. In a matter of hours, she’d whipped up an amazing party. The backyard evolved into a party hall. Refreshment tables were set up under the old shade trees. Neighbours welcomed me home and chatted while sipping chilled lemonade. Kids raced under pink (Daddy had remembered my favourite colour!) streamers dangling from seemingly everywhere. Even many of the doctors from the conference made an appearance. Joy and happiness danced all around.
At one point, I wandered into the house. Even there, friends and family mingled, all celebrating. I couldn’t believe I’d ever been foolish enough to run away from a love I couldn’t begin to imagine.
Then above all the laughter and chatter, I heard a familiar voice. An unhappy voice. I slipped over to the living room window.
Dayna. Her voice carried clearly through the open window. “I’m not going in, Daddy!” she stated. She folded her arms tightly over her lab coat.
Daddy crossed the lawn to stand with her beside her car. “Why not? Your sister is finally home.”
“Okay, look,” Dayna said. “I’ve been the perfect daughter all these years! I’ve done everything right. I didn’t break any rules, I didn’t cause any trouble. I never disgraced our family name. But you’ve never invited all your friends for a party for me. But now Alison is home. She threw all your money down the drain, lived like a disgraceful street artist. And you’re all happy and up in cloud nine. I don’t get it!”
My heart pounded as I waited for Daddy’s answer.
He finally spoke. “Dayna, all that I have is yours. You don’t need to work in that little pharmacy to pay your way through college. It’s all paid for. Just take it, Dayna! It would make me so happy to be able to help you.”
She bit her lip and studied her nails.
“Dayna, come home,” Daddy whispered, opening his arms wide.
She looked up at him, tears shimmering in her eyes.
I turned from the window, allowing them to have their moment. Dear Dayna, who tried so hard to be perfect, but never quite met her own standards. She was in as much need of Daddy’s love as I was.
The door opened. Daddy and Dayna came in, smiling widely. Dayna wrapped an arm around me and the three of us made our way into the backyard.
Out on the deck, Daddy lifted his glass in a toast. “Let’s party and be glad! Both of my daughters came back to me.”
And that’s it! Hopefully you enjoyed reading my little parable of a parable. be blessed and remember to live in awe of God’s loving grace. Because of Him, we are forgiven, accepted, and loved beyond measure. 🙂