Part three... The Being sat back against the bench, and closed his eyes. The child thought he might be sleeping, so it did not disturb him. But then the Being spoke again, with its eyes still closed. …
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Editor's Note: This is part three of columnist Michael Alcorn's Christmas story. Here are parts one and two.
The Being sat back against the bench, and closed his eyes. The child thought he might be sleeping, so it did not disturb him. But then the Being spoke again, with its eyes still closed.
“I must leave you soon, child, for this world is meant for you, and you must learn to navigate its ways by yourself.”
“But, sir, won’t I be lonely? Won’t it be quiet and, well, a little boring with only me and my dogs … and cats?”
And then the Being let out a deep breath, and opened his eyes. “I have been thinking about this. I think I shall give you others, like yourself, that will keep you company. Some will be very much like you; some will be very different from you; and some, you will not enjoy being around at all.
“But some will be like your shadow, like the harmony to your melody. People different, and yet the same. People who will walk beside you, and be closer than a brother, who will help guard you and yet challenge you to be better. This gift is greater even than music, though, if I do say so myself, it would be wonderfully spent making music. This is the gift of Friendship.”
The child got very excited at this news, and could barely contain itself. But the Being was very serious.
“I must warn you, however: this is a precious gift. Do not take it lightly. Great friends are rare. Many will come and go in your life, but the great Friends will always be there when you need them.”
This did not dampen the child’s excitement about Friends, but, somehow, made it more important and more profound.
The Being continued. “And from among all the people there will be some that are made of some of the same stuff that you are made of. You will share a home as you and create a common history. This gift you will call Family, and, though in many cases you will not choose them, they will be the most important people in the world to you.
“And someday, you will meet someone, somebody different than you, who you will want to be a part of your family. In turn, you will make your own Family with this person, and then you will understand the soul-shaking pain and the transcendent joys of creation, for the Family you create will be your most important responsibility.”
This sounding suspiciously like something very difficult, and the child was not completely certain that it was a good thing.
“But, sir, couldn’t I just stick with friendship? That sounds so much easier.”
And the Being smiled. “It is easier. But, Family is still better.
“And, now, my child, my time is done. I must leave you.” And the Being stood up and looked down at the child.
The child, for its part, was saddened by the thought of this wise and powerful Being leaving. The child reached out, and grabbed the Being’s coat. “But, sir, don’t leave me now. There is so much I still do not understand.”
And the Being smiled down at the child, and placed his hand on its head. “I know, I know. But you will have to discover it now for yourself. All of it. The good, the bad, the ugly, the wonderful. Don’t be afraid. You will find, I believe, that if you learn to look for it, there will be a great deal more good and wonderful than bad.”
And, with a gentle pat, the Being turned and began to walk away from the child. The child watched him go for a distance, then called to him. “Will I ever see you again?”
The Being turned, and looked at the child with a warm smile. “Yes. That is my final gift to you. I have written on your heart all the ways you can find pieces of me in this world, and I will send others to you who will teach you how to find me again, and one who will open the doors to my world. And, finally, when your journey in this world is through, I will bring you to my world with me and all those who also seek me.
“And that will be a glorious day, my child.”
And He left, leaving the child lonely and confused, but hopeful. Because, in the end, the best part of this season is the Hope it infuses into every life.
Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays!
“Michael Alcorn is a teacher and writer who lives in Arvada with his wife and three children. His new novel, “Charon’s Blade,” is available at Amazon.com, on Kindle, or through MichaelJAlcorn.com.” His opinions are not necessarily those of Colorado Community Media.
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