Short Stories

Featured Short Story

Daddy's Home

Giggles and laughter echoed up the hill to the man as he watched children playing in a meadow below. Sunlight glanced off their hair as they chased each other in a lively game of tag, sometimes splashing their way across the stream into the woods, darting and dodging among the tall oak trees in what seemed to be a  never-ending game. The man loved to come here. It brought him a great deal of happiness to watch the children enjoying themselves. In fact, he couldn’t think of a place he’d rather be. Sitting there on an old tree stump, he couldn’t help but notice a little girl slowly wandering away from the other children and heading for a distant gate. Some of the children called out to her, but she ignored them as she proceeded down the meadow path.

“Jessica!” he thought to himself as he left the hilltop in an attempt to intercept her. Hurrying down the hill, he was able to beat her to the gate. Sitting beside the gate was an old wooden bench. The man quickly sat down just as she came into view. Jessica glanced at him and then went to the gate where she peered off into the distance. Not seeing what she came for, she turned to leave.

“Jessica,” the man called.

“Yes,” she answered with a quizzical look on her face.

“May I talk with you for a moment?” he asked while motioning for her to come.

Jessica nodded and shyly approached the bench.

“Why do you come here every day?” he asked.

“I’m watching for my daddy to come home. I haven’t seen him in a long time and I miss him.”

“I know something about your daddy. Would you like me to tell you what I know?” he asked.

“You know my daddy?”

“Yes, come here and climb up on my lap. I have much to tell you,” came the answer.

Jessica allowed the man to lift her onto his lap. Feeling secure, she laid her head on his shoulder and waited for him to speak.

“Do you know who I am?” he asked.

“I think so, but I’m not sure,” she answered.

“Look at my hands.”

Jessica took his hand into hers, turned it palm side up, and ran her fingers across the scar in his palm. Uncertainty became a realization as she held his hand tightly in hers.

“Jesus? Are you Jesus?” she asked.

“Yes, little one, I’m Jesus.”

“Mommy told me about you, how you love children, all the children of the world. She used to read Bible stories to me all the time. And I learned so much about you in Vacation Bible School,” she said with excitement in her voice.

“Yes, Jessica, I know. I’ve watched you from a distance. Tell me, do you remember the day that you and your Mommy came through this gate?” he asked.

“I kind of remember it. So much happened that I don’t understand. I know that Mommy, Daddy, and I were on our way to Grandma’s house. Daddy was driving, and we were singing songs and laughing when there was a loud noise and something hit me really hard. Then Mommy and I came walking through this gate. Jesus, can you tell me what happened?” she asked.

“Jessica, you and your family were in a bad accident. A man, driving a big truck, ran a stop light and hit you. Do you understand that you and your Mommy died? Do you also understand that because you both believed in me and asked me into your heart, I brought you to Heaven to live with me forever?” Jesus asked.

“Mommy tried to explain it to me but it was hard to understand. “I’m only nine years old,” she answered.

“I think you have a pretty good understanding of what happened to you,” he replied.

“What about my Daddy? You said you knew about my Daddy,” she asked.

“Jessica, your Daddy survived the accident. He was badly hurt and spent a lot of time in the hospital. He wasn’t able to come to your funeral which hurt him more than the injuries from the accident. Your Daddy loved you and your Mommy very much,” answered Jesus.

“Is he ok? Where is he now? Will I ever see him again?” she asked.

“In due time I’ll tell you, but first let me finish what I was saying. Your Daddy felt like it was his fault that you died. He thought that he should have been watching traffic closer. He became very upset and bitter with himself, so bitter that he refused all offers of help, including counseling at the church. Not only did he turn his back on the pastor, he also turned his back on me,” answered Jesus.

“My Daddy turned his back to you!” she gasped.

“Yes, and it got to the point that he began blaming me for your death,” Jesus answered.

“That doesn’t sound like my Daddy! He loved going to church. He was even going to join the choir.”

“Yes, he did, and I can remember the times he sang praises to me. But he let you and your Mommy’s death change him. He let it bother him until it turned him away from me.”

“Is my Daddy ok?” she asked with a look on her face as if she was going to cry.

“Jessica, for a long time he resisted me. I sent several people to talk to him but he wouldn’t listen. He wanted nothing to do with me and gave me no choice other than to wait and see if he would seek me. Your Daddy’s life fell apart, and to deal with it he started drinking.”

“Drinking! My Daddy?”

“Yes, and he quit taking care of himself. Jessica, your Daddy got very sick,” answered Jesus.

“Sick. Is he going to get better?”

“Jessica, I talked to your Daddy just before I met you today. He had some things to ask me, important things. He asked me back into his heart today and I entered it gladly. And yes, he’s going to be ok.”

“Are you sure?” she asked.

“Why don’t you ask him yourself? Look who’s coming through the gate.”

“Daddy! You’re home!”

August 13, 2020