‘This son of mine was lost, but now found.’
I fail, despite my continual attempts, to grasp the feeling consumed by the Father, who seemingly was only aware of the ‘Found’ son, after a long spell of ‘Lostness’. I am well accustomed and have familiarized myself to the dampening spirits of regrets, guilt, shame and remorse, which wormed into the Prodigal son. I assume you are familiar with the same. But the Father: -He belongs to a different league- super human? Divine? Out-of-the-Earth Character? But what if I attempt to introduce you to that super human feeling, branded by the Father’s heart?
Last week, on the 3rd of November, there were two ‘Homecomings’: one in the forenoon, where a little boy was welcomed to his home, by a dancing crowd of kith and kin; another in the afternoon, a hurried pick-up from the government orphanage, where a little girl was silently welcomed home amongst tears and smiles. I experienced both events, and I saw what the Father felt.
In the Forenoon, little Prajjwal, the newborn son of Ujjwal and Sheelam was brought home. Prajjwal is an answer to a prayer after 7 years of marriage. The couple had waited so long and the journey was spilled with disappointments. As Prajjwal was brought home, the family members decided to celebrate his coming grandiosely. They decorated the house with blue balloons, with threads of colorful ribbons hanging from paper strings at veranda, the trees along the road was tied with colored papers. They even hired a brass band, as Prajjwal was carried gleefully by his proud parents. The cousins danced in front of the throng, to the festive rhythm of the drums; friends and relative waved Indian currencies of different value onto the little boy and placed them on his woolen wrappings. They all stopped in front of the house where a red ribbon was tied to the door post. The ailing grandfather was wheeled to the door to meet his grandson- He was crying. It was my turn to speak from the Bible and bless the baby. After the prayer, Sheelam cut the ribbon to the house, inspiring a final applause as welcome to the little boy. A wonderful lunch was served.
No one questioned Prajjwal’s right to enter the house. No one thought about the looks, the skin tone, the nature, the flaws, the gender or the ‘sins’ of the little boy- there was nothing to think. He was ‘Found’; He was missing at this home for seven years. He was found! The wait is finally over and he was welcomed home. When the Prodigal son entered the premises of his father’s house, this was all that was known of him. There were no questions asked; there were no second thoughts by the Father. That’s your Father’s heart.
While I was lunching at Prajjwal’s home, I received a call from my wife. Mahi was coming home! Mahi is an abandoned baby born to a mentally unstable mother. He mother was a vagrant, probably raped by some street urchin. Mahi was delivered way early in pregnancy, probably a little less than seven months. She was immediately rescued by someone and brought to the hospital. She could neither breathe, nor feed, and was already pale with some sepsis. We were informed about this baby by the Child Welfare Committee of Lucknow. They trusted us to take care of this little one; but now she is in danger. Mahi was on ventilator for two months in the Natal Intensive Care. She was fed through tubes and she had to be forced to breathe. We had little hopes to see her. I, at least thought she would not survive.
But she did! On the 3rd of November, the Neonatologist informed the CWC that the baby is stable now and ready to be removed from the Intensive Care Unit. However she’s delicate and needed close attention. As I heard about the ‘Homecoming’, I returned as quickly as possible and we rushed to the government facility for abandoned children. My wife and I were silent all along the way; we never asked ‘Who will bring up the child?’ or ‘Is this the right thing to do?’ or ‘Are we ready for this?’ or ‘Will the baby survive with us?’ In fact we never thought anything other than the life of the little one whom we never saw until then; we just ‘found’ our daughter. Bindiya went inside the ‘Children’s Home’ to bring Mahi. I waited in the van for them. A little while later, Bindiya knocked at the window. Through the glass I sensed a conglomeration of pain, sorrow and relief, all felt in one gaze. As I opened the door, she brought in a wrapping empty, but a wrinkled globe of head belching from the cloth. She had a thin face and tapering chin, bulging eyelids, a prominent upper lip, and insignificant nose. I shuddered at first sight, simultaneously enraptured by a beauty that’s marks a belonging, eyelids that displayed trust in the hands that held her, a lip that formed a vision of a smile; she was speaking life into our souls. We ‘found’ her. She was lost, but now so real before our eyes.
As she was brought in, the girls at Mekhi’s Home gathered to see her. Each one, competing to hold her. There were no questions asked; “Whose child are you?’, ‘Where were you?’, ‘How did you survive?’, ‘Why should we take care of you?’. Mahi was at home; that’s all that mattered. I still feel the ‘lostness’ of the other babies. Someone else is missing at Mekhi’s Home; Perhaps many of them. Mahi has been sleeping with us. She’s got a very feeble cry, but yet a persistent one. We have not done a full diagnosis of her condition. She seems to have trouble swallowing, and her involuntary movements. She has been keeping Bindiya awake in the nights; occasionally I pick her up in the night while Bindiya prepares her milk.
The Father’s heart asks no questions about your background; accepting you the way you are and He knows with no reason whatsoever, that you belong to Him. He waits and knows that you have come home. I assume you would have understood what the Father felt when the prodigal came home. In the Father’s eyes, he was no prodigal. It’s we who named him ‘prodigal’.