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For many years my dad worked as a boot & shoe repairer in a South Yorkshire village. He had his own shop on the High Street, only yards away from my first school – it was where I headed at the end of each school day – loving to keep company with him, sometimes to just watch him at work, on other occasions exploring the many exciting rooms in his work place, & finding lots to keep a young boy’s curiosity satisfied. BUT perhaps the most impressive moment was arriving through the door just after 3.30pm and finding that whatever he was doing he was ready with a warm, welcoming smile, which said to me – “YOU belong right here”

This is a ‘parable’ of how God sees & welcomes me, which I’ve attempted to capture in this simple poem:-

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The smile says it all
“YOU are welcome here
He’s genuinely pleased to see ME
Not my achievements or performances
Not even my attentiveness

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His smile says it all
“I’m so glad you’ve come”
My very presence brings Him joy
Not the gifts I carry
Nor the thoughts or words
formulated creatively
into prayer or praise
Just ME – as I am

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Oh yes, that smile says it all
“I’ve been eagerly awaiting YOU,
make yourself at home”
No ceremony to stand on
No protocol to observe
Save respect and love
FREE to be my true self
Unhidden and unafraid

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For in my Father’s Presence
the smile says it all
“I love YOU, dear child”

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