There he was – my Dad. I can tell you that waves of powerful emotions immediately filled me. Which way do I run… to him or away from him?
My old friend fear was there. But excitement was there as well.
I instinctively looked for any sign of anger – any hint of displeasure. I frantically searched for any sense at all that he would mortally wound me with those words I so horribly dreaded… those words that, in my worst nightmares, I had imagined he would say to me because I had failed him so often… those words that I believed I deserved.
I stood there for what seemed like an eternity at first. What do I do? What do I say? Do I run away? Do I fall at his feet and beg for forgiveness?
My thoughts were suddenly broken when… he raised his arms… and he beckoned me to come to him. I fell upon him. I could not help myself. Here he was – my Dad. Tears rolled down my cheeks as we embraced.
Then I heard those words – the words that I had so longed for all those years. Those words that I did not dare dream to hear because of my mistaken image of who he was and what he thought of me.
He said so softly and tenderly, yet very clearly, the most precious words he could have said to me…
“I love you.”
And it was absolutely clear to me that it was true. It was no meaningless gesture. It was no pleasantry. And that hit me like a brick.
I sobbed uncontrollably. I held onto him with all that was in me. I mustered, from deep inside me, enough breath to reply, “I love you, too.” And all I wanted to do for some time was just to hold him.