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A Barefoot Boy

July 27, 2011

Luke, our 3-year-old, is always the first of the kids to get up in the morning. He stumbles out of the room hugging his stuffed puppy with his eyes half closed, his hair ruffled up and his little feet making a quiet ‘pat – pat – pat’ on the hallway tiles. July is the middle of winter in South Africa and so the tiles are cold on Luke’s little feet. On this Sunday I was walking past his doorway when he slowly pulled it open. I stopped and bent down to see his little face and he said “Good morning, daddy.” I said, “Good morning buddy, my little boy, my little barefoot boy. I love you, boy.” I have greeted all my sons this way in the morning while they were young, “Good morning buddy, I love you, boy.” I still tell all my sons that I love them, but I only greet Luke this way now. My other sons, Stephen, Timothy and Michael are older, but I can still see them all, three years old and stumbling out of the bedroom with their little bare feet and I can hear me greeting them, “Good morning, I love you, boy.” Later in the day on this Sunday Karen and I took our son Timothy to the airport to put him on a plane to the other side of the world. It was very hard. We don’t know when we will see him again. I stood there hugging my son, who is an inch taller than me, and for the first time in a long time I said, “I love you, boy” and I began to cry. I looked at him and saw the brand new baby I held in my arms, the three-year-old barefoot boy and every boy that he had ever been. I couldn’t stop crying. Oh Lord! The arrow has flown, like Solomon said it would! Oh Lord! Hold him up! My barefoot boy has walked away. Blessings on you, barefoot boy. I love you, boy.

Written July, 2011.

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