Saturday, December 4, 2010

My Prodigal Son and I

The younger son said to his father, "Father, let me have the share of the estate that will come to me.."  So the father divided the property between them.  A few days later, the younger son got together everything he had and left for a distant country where he squandered his money on a life of debauchery.
When he had spent it all, that country experienced a severe famine, and now he began to feel the pinch so he hired himself out to one of the local inhabitants who put him on his farm to feed the pigs.  And he would willingly have filled himself with the husks the pigs were eating but no one would let him have them.  Then he came to his senses and said, "How many of my father's hired men have all the food they want and more, and here I am dying of hunger!  I will leave this place and go to my father and say:  Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you;  I no longer deserve to be called your son;  treat me as one of your hired men.:  So he left the place and went back to his father. 

Henri J. M. Nouwen was a catholic priest who wrote the book, The Return of the Prodigal Son.  I bought and read that book several years ago.  I loved it because he talked about how we can all be  the son and the father and the brother.  Nouwen saw a poster of Rembrandt's painting and it was so moving for him that he got permission to sit in front of the actual painting for several hours to study it.  He also heard reactions of those who came by to look at it.  It spoke to him at the very core.  It speaks to me too.

My son has left this family.  He chose to do it.  Initially, it was hurtful that he was able to leave a place where we provided for and loved this child.  Our intentions were only good for him in this place.  Yet, he left it for a life of debauchery.  In my mind's eye, this could not be understood.  It was more than just leaving, it was a disrespect of all that he had been taught.  He was cutting loose from the families way of thinking and being and doing.  Having lost both of my parents, I couldn't fathom willingly giving up that unconditional love.  Or could I? 

Today I picked up my old book and skimmed over it again.  Nouwen describes both Rembrandt and himself as the son.  He talks of a spiritual leaving home.  When we choose a life that searches for happiness in money or success or personal comfort are we choosing to belong to God or to the world?  If we are looking for unconditional love from those of this world and base our happiness on being loved because we are smart or pretty or are serving their need at a particular point in time, will I ever find happiness?  Will I be "hooked" to trying harder and in a different way to gain love and acceptance from this world?  I will be a slave to all of the hurdles I am trying to jump through to get something that is unattainable.  When Nouwen describes this as addiction, I thought,  Oh my, I am the prodigal son.  I am no different than my son.  I am looking for acceptance and comfort in all the wrong places.  I have squandered my inheritance. 

The father could not force his son to stay home.  He knew that he must allow him to find his own way even though the cost could be great.  But, the great blessing was that not matter how many times he would leave, the father would be there to welcome him home with outstretched arms.  This is what our heavenly Father does for us over and over again.

Counselors speak about the need to hit bottom.  I have heard it over and over again.  It is now what we are waiting on to occur.  Leaving home takes you farther and farther from love.  It becomes harder and harder to live in the world that will entangle you in manipulations and struggles of this world.  There becomes no one to trust.  There is no one who truly cares unless you can be used for something that they want.  You stop seeing those that you might have something in common with.   Life looses meaning.  This isolation and loneliness, this feeling of no where to turn is the only way that opens your eyes to what you might have lost.  It is in this place that you might discover your true self. 

I know these things.  I have been in this place...and not too long ago.  I worried more about success in our business, who quit using us, who liked using us.  I forgot that this business isn't personal.  It is a means to pay for our needs.  Nothing more, nothing less.  I spent too much money when times were better.  I could have saved that for leaner times, but I squandered my inheritance.  I put more focus on financial gain that the time spent with my children....I left my country.  But, four months ago, after watching my son come home high as a kite, belligerent, irrational and worried for his life.  I made a turn in my path.  I watched my son in a drug hazed condition, shave his head, because he thought it would be more comfortable.  I watched this shell that was once my beautiful little boy mutilate himself.  I decided then and there, that my life had become meaningless.  I decided then and there that if God would help me back on the path towards Him, that I would look in the right place for love.  

I am still traveling back to where I can say that I am not worthy and hope to be taken back in.  I am praying on this day, that my son will soon find the place at the bottom and when he does, I pray that he will make the right choice.  I am thankful for this lesson.  I am thankful for prayer.  I am thankful for the bottom for it is from that place that I see the most clearly.  Today I pray that we all continue our daily journey with the Father.  I am thankful for all of the prayers said on our behalf.  And as always, I pray for Henry.  In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Amen. 


meluv2scrap said...

continuing to pray for yall!

Mom of an Addict said...

Thanks they are so appreciated

coffeemom said...

Just finished that book. SOOO good. This post makes me blink back tears. Praying...but you know that.