Monday, March 29, 2010

Airport 2

Clay’s last days in Atlanta were less than happy. He was eager to get back to Australia to see his girlfriend and to resume his life. Living life abroad had not turned out the way he had thought it perhaps might and his anger and disappointment was poured out on his father. It was after all, Mac’s fault they had all uprooted themselves. It certainly didn’t help that Jill was in Clay’s ear constantly about how much she hated living in the States, how Mac was leading them all the wrong way, and how their place was really in Australia.

Mac had helped Clay pack his bags in preparation for the departure but even with all the effort there was a bag that was overweight and then it was discovered that due to conflicting airline arrangements the bags couldn’t be checked all the way through to Brisbane airport. Clay would have to collect them at LAX and then lug them, as heavy as they were, and his hand luggage through to his international departure terminal where he would be charged a further amount in oversized, overweight fees. Mac was angry at himself for giving his son one more reason to dislike him.

In one of Clay’s outbursts prior to his departure he had challenged Mac’s notion of being called by God to work in one of the school districts south of Atlanta. In his hostility Mac had recognized some of Jill’s own poison working its way through the dialogue. She had Clay’s ear more than she had Harrison’s and Clay obviously felt the need to pass onto Mac that he was wrong about the call on his life.

“After all, if you’d been called here wouldn’t we all sense it?” Clay’s challenge merely echoed Jill’s sentiment issued weeks before. Mac wasn’t entirely sure but he was pretty convinced that when Abraham had been called to the Promised Land that his wife Sarah hadn’t been consulted or that when Joseph was told to take his young family from Bethlehem to Egypt that Mary simply went along. Mac had wanted to point out the inconsistencies in Jill’s, and now Clay’s, argument from a Biblical point of view but figured it would only inflame already raging emotions.

Not that Mac felt that he was in a position to quote scripture. On the contrary he was in his own opinion far from being in a position to teach others about hearing from God. This thing he had battled with when he was growing up had in recent years gotten the better of him and he had for some time struggled to maintain what most would consider being a good Christian lifestyle. One thing he hated was hypocrites and he didn’t want to become one to any greater degree than he was already by getting preachy about the Bible when he knew what the Bible said about the likes of him. He might be a lot of things but he wasn’t going to add hypocrite to the list of accusations God or anyone else acting on His behalf could sling at him.

So in the final days of life with Clay in the United States Mac had merely resorted to maintaining peace in the home at all expense. Patterns of family life being what they are meant that in the lead up to Harrison leaving there were more conversations that didn’t happen that should have. And now here they were, departing ways with deep sadness and with a great lack of clarity about where they stood.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Airport 1

Alone again. Mac was surrounded by a myriad of people at Hartsfield-Jackson airport. There was this giant flow of humanity toward exit gates. It washed past him as he stood like a stone in the midst of a fast flowing river. Frozen eyes desperately holding on to a flickering glimpse of Harrison as he moved toward his boarding flight.

“Love you,” Mac had said as they embraced just moments before.

“Love you more,” had been Harrison’s gentle yet sad response.

“Love you most,” they said together. This had been an almost daily ritual since Harrison was just little, a secret code between father and son, a mantra they shared to remind one another of their love for one another. They were made of the same stuff these two although Mac hoped everyday that there would be some vital departures from the mix that Harrison would make. Mac did not want his younger son to lead the same unauthentic life he had forced on himself.

Embracing for longer than usual each was trying to store up man-hug points. Neither knew how long it would be before they saw each other. Deep down both suspected it would be a whole lot longer than the planned eight months of separation but that thought remained unspoken for a couple of months yet.

They broke away and Mac reached up to kiss the cheek of his younger offspring. Tears welled in both pairs of eyes. Harrison reached to the ground for his hand luggage and moved toward the security gate. He had vowed to himself that he would not look back, it would have been too hard to see his dad standing there crying.

Mac’s heart broke. Sorrow larger than the sea filled him. It was a sorrow as overwhelming as when Clay had left Atlanta only months before. Although he didn’t know it until now, Mac’s heart was still raw with that pain. Back then Mac had cried for hours, broken.