It was 1800 GMT, and the western horizon was a canvas of aesthetic perfection. A wonderful sight that would get the hairs on the back of the neck of any admirer of beauty on edge.
Mr. Richie Acquah smiled at the glorious sunset as he parked his car next to the familiar Toyota Land Cruiser in the car park of Christ The King Catholic Church. Such a beautiful picture painted by the Greatest Artist, he thought to himself as he killed the engine, ready to step out of the car and head for Evening Mass.
A pretty appropriate place to find himself after returning from Nkawkaw, having spent a whole week there on a business trip. He had left pretty late, and after a three hour journey, which included getting stuck in traffic around Amasaman for half an hour, he was pretty exhausted, and heading straight home sounded like a more reasonable choice.
However, it was a Wednesday, and being the faithful Catholic he was, he rarely missed out on Evening Mass. As tired as he was, missing out was not an option.
Besides, the car parked next to him meant only one thing.
Two of his favourite people were around.
And after being away from them for seven days, he missed them dearly.
He stepped out of the car, locked it, and headed towards the church building.
As he walked in, he made the sign of the cross as he faced the altar, immaculately decorated as usual. He kept his eyes on the huge cross on the wall for a moment.
His gaze turned from the cross to the pews on his left.
And what he saw made his heart, and his face, smile with gladness.
There they were!
As they both got up from the pew to meet him, he beheld them and felt his heart jump for joy.
A few minutes ago, he had seen the exquisite artistic hand of God in the magnificent sunset. Now before him stood another beautiful picture.
A picture of the two most important, most beautiful and most precious people in his life.
In front of her mother stood Esi. The first arrow in the quiver. His darling four-year-old daughter. His precious little girl. Sometimes troublesome, like any other toddler, but an all-round sweetheart.
And behind her, Mrs. Eleanor Acquah. The lady of his life. His queen. His better half. His rose.
Seeing them stand together at that moment couldn’t have made him happier. A perfect picture of the sweetest gift God could possibly ever give him on this earth.
“Dadddyyyyyy!” Esi shrieked happily as she rushed towards him, arms outstretched.
He laughed and bent down, opening his arms as she ran into them, flinging her arms around his neck. “Esi my sweetheart! I’ve missed you, baby!”
“I’ve missed you too, Daddy!” the little one enthusiastically gushed.
He laughed gently, then rose to his feet and faced Eleanor.
She smiled at him.
It had been five years of marriage, yet somehow, her smile and that loving look in her eyes never ceased to leave him feeling weak in the knees. There was some aura about her that captured him from the first day he met her, and he was still chained to that day. There was no doubt about it; Eleanor was made for Richie, and Richie was made for Eleanor. Any other union would never have made any sense.
She kissed him on the cheek. “I’ve missed you, Richie.”
He smiled and stroked her on the cheek. “I’ve missed you even more, my love. Spent about three hours on the road. Should’ve been shorter, but chale, you know Amasaman can get crazy, and it did.”
“Awww, sorry, honey. I was wondering if you’d go home first, but then I remembered it’s Wednesday, and it’s more probable that you’ll come here, so Esi and I have been hanging around for a while. Father Lee is in, though, so service should be starting any time soon.”
“Oh, okay. Let’s get to the front, then. Right in front of the altar,” Richie suggested, to which she obliged and they walked to the front.
The church wasn’t empty. Quite a few members were around. Some reading their Bibles, others silently praying, others chatting with friends.
As they got to the front pew and Richie allowed his bride to sit before him, he took his seat and assured his little girl that he would take a look at her latest drawing after service. Then he nudged Eleanor gently and murmured, “You know, speaking of pictures, I saw two beautiful pictures this evening.”
Eleanor looked interested. “I see. What were they?”
“Well, the first one was the sunset that I witnessed just as I got here. You know me and my fascination with those things. It was absolutely glorious.”
“Mm-hmm. And the second one?”
“The second one… was a picture of God’s best gift to me on earth. The most beautiful woman on earth, and her sweet little twin standing before me.”
“Awwww!” she blushed at that, laying her head on his shoulder.
“I love you, Ellie,” he murmured. “You and Esi will always be my favourite reminder of how God loves me. Always and forever.”
“I love you too, Richie,” she whispered back, before they got up just as the priest and mass servers were preparing to begin Mass. She held his hand as they sang the entrance hymn.
It was the small things like this that Richie cherished the most. Church service with his wife and daughter in the evenings. He knew that the sight of the three of them together, to many, would be a photo of beauty to many.
A reminder that family, God’s first institution to create, is a beautiful thing.
“In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”