Dear Prodigal

I want to return, but I am afraid.

I left without much explanation. It felt complicated.

My desire for connection was replaced with a desperate need for protection.

Isolation felt like the only option, and now it feels like I have been gone for too long.

I find myself repeatedly rehearsing my re-entry speech, but it all sounds like riddles. I don’t think they will understand. I know they do not agree with my choices.

What have they been saying about me? My stomach is in knots.

Will my eyes meet smiles, or faces of disappointment and rejection?

Surely they all hate me now.

How did you find the courage to do it?

Did you feel paralyzed with anxiety as you forced your body to walk home?

I wonder if your eyes were sheepishly surveying the horizon as you rehearsed what you would say.

Did you feel a lump in your throat, a racing heart, and sweaty palms?

I wonder if your body braced in fear when you noticed someone was running toward you.

Oh, what relief you must have felt when you saw those familiar, smiling eyes!

How did it feel when you saw your father running towards you, eyes tender, arms spread wide?

Did all the anxiety melt away as your body settled into the longed-for embrace?

I can only imagine how the words, “Welcome Back!” echoed in your soul.

How did it feel to have safety and connection restored?

Gosh, I long for that.

Do you think that could be possible for me too?

Risking to Return,

Wrestling for Hope.

This Red Tent woman has requested to remain anonymous. We applaud her courage to risk sharing this part of her story with our community, it is our privilege to honor and protect her identity.