earlier tonight i was telling braylon that we were gong to the YMCA, and he asked if he could change first. i said sure. but when he came back, i told him he’d have to change shirts again cuz the one he was wearing was too big. he really like it though. so without even talking about it or arguing, he briefly looked up and stormed out of the room with a frown. then before we knew it, he was at the front door, yelling, ‘then i’m gonna run away from my family!”. i looked at rick like, “is he serious?” but then i heard a door slam, and i immediately got up and walked out of the house to follow him. he hadn’t quite reached a block on his scooter. he was in tears. as soon as he rounded the corner and i lost him from view, i yelled for him to come back…at first a little angry, but when i saw his face from a distance, i called him to me with a more gentle tone. when he still hesitated, i simply waved him over to me. and he slowly scooted his way back.
i urged him to come back in to just talk about the shirt and maybe the 3 of us could come up with a good game plan. he kept saying under his breath, “it was a sad choice”. the tears came whenever he said those words, “the saddest choice ever”. we both just asked him, “what was a sad choice?” “to run away … from my family” he said, chin quivering. ricky said, “you thought you’d be happy when you ran away…” and bray interjected, “from my family” “yeah, but it actually made you really sad, huh?” “uh-huh.” then he told him that he could wear the shirt, just tucked in loosley in the front. and then looked him in the eye and said something along the lines of, ” you know, buddy, i’m just happy you came back. we love you”.
something about that repsonse was different. a little unexpected, but not surprising. its focus was not on us as parents…our fear or worry that he was lost or hurt, but on braylon. it took my mind right to the parable Jesus told of the lost (or prodigal) son. grace and acceptance have been a thread woven through ricky’s life by his father, ricky sr… so i guess it was a chance to live out that grace in some small way, to his own son. and to put into action the very words of Christ. what an opportunity.
A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living. About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs.The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything.
“When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”’
“So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.’
“But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.