When the Sun Gets In Your Eyes
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 by Frank Shortt
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       On an early morning in late July, a man emerged from somewhere along a less-used portion of the Norfolk and Western Railroad. The man could see a boy in the distance running along the railroad tracks. Suddenly, he thought he recognized the boy and cried, “Please come back, please come back!” The boy had been out trying to gather some wood for his mother’s kitchen stove in order to cook their sparse, waning food supply.
       The stripling lad slowed to a walk and, turning down a weed edged path, he came to a rundown shack below the tracks, an old abandoned storehouse. He entered the half-hung door and sat down on a rough-hewn bench by the wall. The man entered soon afterward and sat down a ways from the boy. The boy had purposely made the space between them. Many days of feeling abandoned kept pounding in his confused head as he recognized the once clean-shaven, skeletal man who sat on the other end of the bench. The man now knew for sure to whom the handsome boy belonged. They sat in silence, staring at each other, for what seemed an eternity. The man’s nerves became fraught because of the imminent battle. Small streams of sweat flowed freely down his emaciated features.
       The man began by saying, “Son, I realize now that I have been a naughty father by staying gone a year or more. I haven’t been much of a father and husband and I could not help you and your mom even though I knew you were poverty stricken. I was fighting my own demons! But, you have been with me constantly no matter how far I’ve roamed the past year. I have carried your picture with me, although it is bent and deformed.” The boy edged a bit closer with eyes full of wonderment. The man’s words echoed off the rusty, tin panels as bullets ricocheting off a rocky canyon wall.
       The man continued, “Son, I am so sorry for the time I was not there with you. I’m also sorry for your momma who has always been true to me. Son, although the sun is bright and gives us warmth, lighting up the eastern skies, sometimes the sun gets in one’s eyes blinding a man. He begins to stagger around like a drunken fool doing things he normally would not do.” The boy edged a bit closer as youth is quicker to forgive!
       As the man spoke his words of love, soon the boy put his soiled smaller hand in the larger hand. After a while, their fingers interwove tightly! The man could not contain himself as tears began to flow out of troubled eyes. All his nights of pent up love and all the grief and woe came to the forefront like a flood! As the man stood up he could hear the tears hit the floor as his unkempt beard became soggy and wet. The pitter-patter of his tears helped him to show the boy all the remorse and loneliness he felt. The tears fell upon a dried-up wrapper of an old and rusty tin can, echoing through the empty spaces of the warehouse. Soon, the boy began to understand, along with his dad, the importance of repentance and forgiveness.
       “Dad, do you promise never to leave us again? Will you stay with us no matter how many roadblocks life has to offer?” The man promised faithfully that he would do all in his power to be a good father and husband. The boy said, “I forgive you dad!” The man had climbed over one obstacle already but still a greater one loomed.
       The two walked slowly, arm in arm from the old storehouse. The sun was just beginning to climb over the eastern horizon. As it cleared the trees, the sun hit both squarely in the eyes. The man said with all conviction, “Son, let’s go home! I’ve got a lot of talking and making up to do with your mother!”
       The only thing that can produce repentance and forgiveness is a genuine, undefiled heart! We all are subject to the sun blinding us once in a while!