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“Your father and I have been very worried . . .” (Luke 2:48)

They were a young couple,
past the glow of first birth,
not yet grown into the knowledge
that children become themselves.

They could not imagine
returning to a home
with no first stumbling steps
from the kitchen to the stairs;

where no dancing footfalls
could be heard, where even
the sullen silence from a child
could fill the room.

So when they could not find him
in their group they turned back,
three days searching,
sick with fear, silent with each other.

He was there in the temple,
quizzing the elders with his questions,
having already left home in his own way,
surprised they could not see this was his work.


Barry Casey taught religion, philosophy, ethics, and communications for 37 years at universities in Maryland and Washington, DC. He is now retired and writing in Burtonsville, Maryland. More of the author’s writing can be found on his blog, Dante’s Woods. Email him at His first book, Wandering, Not Lost: Essays on Faith, Doubt, and Mystery, is now available.

Photo by Levi Meir Clancy on Unsplash



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