Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Prodigal

I have debated whether or not to write this post. As FamiliesChange.blogspot.com was created by a single mom struggling with her new reality, it seems appropriate to share all the changes that have come my way.  I have hesitantly allowed you into my broken heart and divorce.  I have shared the emptiness and joy as a daughter leaves the home to marry.  I have shared my inspired romance and marriage to one of my very best friends growing up, becoming a step-mother and a grandmother.  From this list, I have realized that Families Change with the days, and some changes are delightful, some growing, some heartbreaking and some just downright hard and unfair.  So now, I share an experience that seems to encompass all of the above and more.  And, I share it, perhaps with the hopes that someone else has felt like I do and will be brave enough to share with me.  

No matter how hard we try, our kids don't always make the choices we would make, choose the career that we think they were made for.  We could raise them in a musical home and they could crave the quiet.  We surround them with certain core values, our core values, and they may choose to create their own.  We may try to fill them with motivation and aspirations and they may be content with "now" and unsure of the "later"----and be just fine with it.  We may have pictured them a certain way, all their life-----and they may have a completely different album of their future.   All of which are fine and good, but some are difficult to swallow ---- like a large pill for the best outcome, yet it hurts the whole way down.  So, as my son has left and moved out into college housing, I have been flooded with a myriad of emotions, thoughts, memories and even regrets.  Did I raise him the best I knew how?  Did I give him my all when he needed it?  Did I try to relate and enjoy, understand and feel from his perspective?  Did I analyze his actions according to how he would live or how I would have him live?  Did I?  Could I?  Should I? And, will I? are the questions.  With this heavy on my mind, I found myself pondering the story of the prodigal son.  Of course, their are similarities.......... his "inheritance" would be a bed-in-a-bag, and a 5 x 7 of the family.  And, the new distance he created between us, less than a mile away.  However, Families Change, and it's easy to focus on the "Never Agains", rather than the "Won't It Be Fun When?"........Families Change and will continue to change, not only with the times, but because of time.  And, as they change, so do we, as parents----- learning and growing, laughing and crying, packing and unpacking....we change. 

Back to the prodigal son.  The son, takes his inheritance and  leaves, and is about "riotous living" for a time.  His money is spent, he realizes that his choices did not lead to the happiness he was seeking.  Then, in moments of reflection or perhaps desperation, he remembers whose his is, and yearns to be reunited with his father.  Then, we have the oldest son, who had been obedient to his father's will, and watches this reunion.  The prodigal son returns to open arms, not the lecture, grounding or typical response the eldest son would have thought.  It is evident that the prodigal son has never been far from his father's thoughts, as their eyes meet, they run to one another and embrace with a kiss.  Then, the father has his servants bring the prodigal a robe, some shoes and ring, and instructs them to prepare a fine to prepare a fine feast.
 I believe this parable teaches us a little bit about ourselves and a lot about our relationships.  We have all been the "father", lovingly responsible for someone else, celebrating a return, an accomplishment, or even a change of heart.  We have all been the "eldest" son, unable to celebrate the good fortune of another, when we feel like we have worked for it and deserve it even more.  And, we have all been the "prodigal"------ leaving what we know and love, to test our wings and see if we can really fly........our own way!  And, we have all been "prodigal" as realization becomes our reality, and we long to return to the Father.......from whence we KNOW we came and even belong, regardless of our weakness.

And, not mentioned in the parable, but in my mind, there must have been a mother.  A loving mother, who spent her days creating a home full of the spirit.  She must have created some meals her boys loved that no one else could make just like her, that would permeate the home each night.   Perhaps she played music that her son's did not think they enjoyed but, made it feel like home.  There must have been a mother who felt guilty as her son left the home, which guilt led to self-doubt and feelings of failure and inadequacies.  There must have been a mom who cried with the father as their son departed, and who rejoiced with him upon his return.  A mother who remembered birthdays and created traditions of all kinds, that the son remembered, perhaps missed and maybe even quietly longed for during his journey away. 

The Prodigal is so much more than a son's return after "riotous" living.  The Prodigal is more than a loving father welcoming him home with the best of the best.  The Prodigal is more than an obedient yet jealous brother.  The Prodigal is all about how selfish, immature behavior can become a canvas of learning and possibly to becoming broken and humble.  It is about living our mistakes, which we all do, then allowing humility and our own realization of whose we truly are, becoming a catalyst in our lives, producing change.  The Prodigal does not mean that we all need to live and experience every thing for ourselves, in order to know right from wrong.  But, what it does mean is that if we do, if pleasure-seeking becomes more powerful than covenant-keeping, there is a way back, rejoicing to be had and open arms awaiting our return.  The Prodigal is about each of us and our imperfections, and allowing those imperfections to motivate us even catapult us home.  The Prodigal!


  1. Debbie, I loved this! I loved seeing this new perspective and bringing it so close to home. I have felt and continue to feel this yearning for the Father...to come home...be wrapped in his arms. Thank you.

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