Category Archives: Beginnings

On Births and Beginnings

Dear Father,

A few days ago we celebrated the birth of the Brother-Saviour, and in a few days we shall celebrate the start of a new year. As a young boy growing up in the House I was always pleased and displeased by the coincidence that separated both of these dates. Both celebrations gave the holidays purpose, pointed clearly to why we were offered breaks from school and allowed to waste our days at home. The birth of the Brother-Saviour also came with the reception of gifts from the fabled Father Christmas, and this was a tradition I cherished even after I grew old enough to know that Father Christmas was my father and mother working in tandem. However, gifts and holidays notwithstanding, both days also meant late church vigils and early morning masses; my parents, much to my dismay, were intent on entering and spending a good chunk of the celebratory days in your presence, giving you thanks and asking you favours. As a child I found such endeavours useless and felt that they stole away precious time that could have been spent playing with friends and toying with presents.

Of course as a much older person the significance of both days is much more apparent. It is not lost on me that we celebrate a birth on one day and the beginning of a new year on the other. Births themselves mark a beginning. They inform us of the start of new lives, filled with possibilities and hopes and chances yet to be taken. And a new year for many marks an opportunity to give this life another go, to try once more to achieve that of which they have already spent years in pursuit. There is a strong sense of finality and hope in this week, even amongst those that do not share a belief in your House and the things it represents. The start of the new year is enough for most to look to the future with anticipation, to offer their fevered and expectant prayers to you and other Fathers in other Houses for what they wish to achieve or meet or see in the next 12 months, regardless of whether or not they truly believe in you or whether or not they have faithfully kept your edicts.

And so Father, as I am as much a child as the rest of my brethren, I once again put aside the questions and feelings that have arisen from my journey, and I allow myself to be filled with hope for the future, hope that your earth will become a better place in the coming year; that fewer will suffer, that fewer will lose the things they hold dear; that more will be happy, that more will be fulfilled; that fewer die in their youth and that more die ripe with age, ready to leave the wonderful lives they have led and rest once and for all. I allow myself to hope against history and Doubt and pessimism that wars will end this coming year; that the poor will be clothed and fed, and that all your children, regardless of creed and colour, would grow closer, inspired by the understanding that the many things that make us different make us stronger. I allow myself to hope that the love exemplified by your sacrifice (pointless as it may seem) will be more evident in the coming years than it has been since, and that more of us understand this kind of love and manifest it in our lives, sacrificing our wants for the needs of those less fortunate.

My once little friend, ever ready with words of contradiction, shakes his head with pity, but for the next few days I will not care; I will allow myself to hope. May my hope not be for naught, dearest Father; may it not be for naught.

With an expectant heart,

Your Prodigal Son

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Anniversary

The sun was bright today Father, and the winds were slow. The heat was high, and the chill was low. And as I sat to write to thee, my heart was calmed, my mind made free.

I smiled to joyous passers-by; I beamed at flitting birds on high. And even to my friend black as night, I offered a hand devoid of spite.

He sat with me and grinned in turn, content to put aside his scorn; and looking up at the great blue sky, we wondered and pondered, “soliloquied”.

Our talk of things brought you to mind, and all the people we’d left behind. And soon we found our thoughts abroad, on home and hearth, on warmth and Words. I saw my father, stout and strong; I saw my mother soft and young; I saw the elders wise and old, and I saw the body, bright and bold. Their hands were lifted up in praise; their eyes and hearts were set ablaze, and their mouths aflutter with chants most holy, giving their all to sing to your glory.

My chest was hurt, my eyes were stung, and my lips began to move with song; for deep inside I remain the same: a child alone, his Doubt untamed. My guilt, my fear, they have not waned; my joy and cheer are still unchanged. I am a Universal child you see; this guilt and awe? They’re baked in me.

And so my smile was turned to rue, and my heart once more yearned for you. My questions, demands, were cast aside; the splendour of home was all on my mind.

I sighed and stood and brushed my clothes, and stared far out at the House that glowed. Glass and steel and gold and stone, its lights a reflection of your throne.

“T’would be sweet,” said Doubt to me, “To return to your House once free from me, for then your smile shall light the skies, your faith immune to all my lies.”

His words rang true to my aching breast, and so I put my thoughts to rest. Though weak by nature I will forge ahead; I will see this quest to its bitter end.

And so this day I give you thanks, for safety, protection, for a friend in my ranks. The year has been rough, confusing and bleak; there are days I’ve ended too fearful to speak . Here’s to another, more fruitful I hope, deeper in meaning and wider in scope. Perhaps I am doomed to never return. No matter dear Father…

Forever,

Your son

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On Sophie

Dear Father,

The days have passed very quickly and my personal duties have kept me occupied. It has been a whirlwind bunch of weeks, and even now the spectre of deadlines looms over my head. But I would be remiss if I did not write you; I enjoy it and it provides much needed rapport, especially now that I am not at home anymore. As you know I have barely left the vicinity of the House. When you are born and raised in a certain manner, it takes a lot of resolve to break free completely, to sever all ties immediately. And so I do not see myself straying too far from home in the foreseeable future. I am still feeling out the terrain, seeing if I really can make it without the support of the Family. Besides, I am holding out on the chance that you will fling open the still-visible gates and come running, finally ready to show your face and assure me that you have been here all along. There is also that issue of my inheritance and the advantage of close proximity to the deliverables. It’s been a few weeks Father; this is unbecoming.

The creature I wrote about last time is still here, and I must say he is a very talkative fellow. He seems to speak without moving his mouth, although every once in a while he employs the orifice, much to my satisfaction. You cannot possibly imagine how terrifying it was to hear his voice and see his smiling lips not moving. He speaks, dear Father, and he speaks about everything. Even the most mundane things grab his attention. The only time he seems to shut up is when I do not think too much on an issue. The moment I turn my attention to something and give it even a modicum of consideration, the winged creature is ready with a laundry list of opinions about what to do and what not to do, how to think and how not to think. Sometimes it is entertaining, but it after a while it gets quite exhausting. I am still not sure whether or not he is in the direct employ of You-Know-Who. If he is, he must (as I stated in my last letter) be very low in the hierarchy. His chatting is mildly amusing at best, slightly irritating at worst. I haven’t performed any egregiously immoral acts under his tutelage.

Listen to me, yammering on about my tiny acquaintance. He is not the topic of this letter, as you must have already surmised. No. The topic of this letter is Sophie, the woman that has captivated this poor child of yours. You must know Sophie, Father; she is quite old. As old, dare I say, as you. Of course I do not mean this in the literal sense. We your children have no means of dating things that occurred before we were made, and so even though we believe that you are far, far older than time itself, we must agree that our knowledge of you is only as old as we are. And so is Sophie. Imagine that for a moment Father. Pause your constantly spinning wheel of knowledge, suspend the voice in your magnificent head that disagrees, and imagine a being that is as old as you. A part of me shudders just thinking that I may have a chance with her.

She is not just old dear Father; she is also very, very elusive.  Like a giggling, playful sprite she flits in and out of my head, whispering thoughts that are so profound I feel like my mind might explode, and then leaving them half-finished, watching me (I assume) as I claw at my hair in a mad attempt to follow her questions to what could only be amazing answers. You must know Sophie, dear Father. In fact I posit that you must have her. A being as great as you cannot not know Sophie. And of course, going by Family doctrine, because you made Everything, it only stands to reason that you made Sophie too.

She has been pursued by countless others before me. Almost every group of your children, separated by continents and oceans and deserts, has attempted to court this mighty lady. All cultures have powerful adages, pithy aphorisms, age old instructions, all suited to the pursuit, acquaintance and wooing of the wonderful lady Sophie. Books have been written about her revelations, and countless of stricken fellows like me have pored over these in hopes of acquiring the skills that she has deigned to bestow upon my brethren. It is, in part, this love for Sophie, this desperation for her approval, that led to my departure from the House. My search for her (and on a deeper level, for you) has led me Outside and it is my fervent hope that this search will lead me back home.

What am I saying, Father? I am saying that I am in love, madly in love with Sophie. I felt it wise to tell you this explicitly. Your Book contains countless references to her, and I intend to study them intently. Other children, from other Houses, have also written at great length about her; some have even gone to schools for the sole purpose of learning her ways and taming her wily spirit. I, as you know, am not one of those. I am but an amateur, a young, naïve, besotted individual, and I hope that as my Father, you can put in a good word to her on my behalf.

So wish me luck, dear Father, and grant me grace; it is a long and twisted road to her heart.

With much infatuation,

Your Prodigal Son

P.S.  As you know, her proper name is Sophia. When you speak with her, please do not let her know that I have taken to referring to her in the diminutive form. I feel she may not realise that it is only love that gives me the confidence to call her Sophie…

The creature on my shoulder is laughing at me. Apparently seeing me nervous is amusing to him.

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On My Departure

Dearest Father,

I have left home. I cannot say I am surprised by this, and neither (I expect) can you. And no, that is not a reference to your wonderful gift of knowledge, which permits you to know anything you desire. No; even if you were of limited mind like me and the rest of my brethren, you must have been able to sense this inevitability through my behaviour these past years. I have left home, and I have taken with me my possessions, all that you have given me since the day I was born. I am writing specifically to you and not the rest of the Family because, well, they do not know that I have left. To them, I am simply not around. It is a testament to the size of both the Family and the Ground Floor that I can leave the House completely and no one would be able to tell I am gone. Those in my wing, my dearest, closest relatives, they would simply assume I am visiting another wing. And those in this supposed other wing? They have never met me; they will not be expecting me, and so they cannot be suspicious when I do not show up.

Keeping with tradition, you were absent when I shut the door behind me. You are always absent, even though the official Family line is: “You are Everywhere.” In fact, your apparent absence is among the reasons I left, but I am sure you already knew that. Nevertheless, it would have been nice to have you show up just this once, if only to bid me farewell. You cannot be happy that I am leaving, but I can cynically assume that some of my uncles and aunts Upstairs are slightly pleased by this turn of events; the celebration that is bound to ensue should I return is something I am sure they are looking forward too. Perhaps you share their joy. Regardless, happy or sad, I think, as all children do, that my Father should have been present for an event as momentous as this.

Your absence at the time of my departure is the primary reason I am writing to you. As I said, I took all my possessions. I have been told, however, that it is customary to give departing sons their inheritance as well. I have no idea what this inheritance could possibly be, but I am already giddy with anticipation. You are the greatest Father there is; one can only expect that the inheritance for your children would put the most opulent of humans to shame. I left a note with one of the guards at the gate before I left, but I have not received a reply. This letter addresses that. Without the peace of mind that comes from being at home, I find that I am in dire need of whatever tools you can send me. I know I left willingly, but you are my Father. Indulge me this last time, and I promise not to disturb you again. Besides, this is my inheritance, no?

In other news, the Outside is not nearly as scary as I was made to believe as a child. You cannot imagine (perhaps because you already know) the trepidation that gripped me as I opened the compound gate. I fully expected to be swarmed by You-Know-Who’s minions the moment I stepped out, immediately drowned in their calls and cries. But there was nary a whisper beyond the gates. In fact, had the gate not been standing behind me, I would have wondered if I had even left at all. All that is to say that I am faring quite well; I have seen nothing too shocking or out of the ordinary. I have, however, picked up a friend, a strange creature with tiny wings and bright eyes. It’s been flying beside me all day and even now, as I write, it watches me with its soft, tiny eyes. I am starting to suspect that it is one of his minions. Small fish like me probably deserve small watchers. I do not like it though; it’s eyes are a tad too piercing. I feel like it can stare into my head. Perhaps a tool in my inheritance kit will help me deal with it…

I’ll wrap up now. The bulk of my responsibilities have not changed since I left the House, and I must still attend to them. Alas the life of a young man remains largely the same, whether inside or Outside. I look forward to hearing from you Father; it can be very lonely on the other side of the gate.

With love,

Your Prodigal Son

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