The older I get, and the emptier my nest gets, the more I think of the story of the prodigal’s father.
What torment he must have felt. I don’t have a prodigal. But every parent will go through moments of surprise at life decisions.
Letting go of my kids is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. There are the worries – will they be safe? Will they be happy? Will they be ok?
Then there can be uncertainty or frustration – will they forget all they have been taught? During those years when I tried to share my heart and soul with them, did any of it stick? Or did I waste my life?
And then there is the sadness of missing these kids who were and are the light of my life.
As I think of the prodigal’s father, and as I watch my own children stretch to make their own journey, I remembered the final scene in Alex Haley’s Queen miniseries. Queen had survived a horrific life and when her own sons wanted to leave home, she wanted to hold them back. She told them the world was a mean place where they might get hurt. And actually (there were other causes), she went through a complete breakdown.
But when she recovered, and as she said farewell to her sons, she told them words I have paraphrased and used myself.
Wherever you go, always remember that there is a road back home, and that road is a lot shorter than the one it took for you to leave. The door is always open, you’re always welcome, and we love you very much.
My job now is to simply love them.
And with those words, I know as they venture on their own stories I’ll be covering them with prayer and daily singing Jean Valjean’s, “Bring him home,” with a heartfelt prayer to keep them both safe.
You can take
You can give
Let him be
Let him live
If I die, let me die
Let him live
Bring him home