The Prodigal Son
This story, this parable, talks about a man with two sons. One decides he wants his inheritance now, so the father divides up his property between the two sons.
I am certain many people have heard this story, but have rarely had it hit them personally. It’s just a good story about a loving father who is willing to take back his son despite that son having squandered all that he had been given. This same loving father is willing to stay with the other son who feels slighted.
However, I feel this story so personally that I feel compelled to share it with you.
My story as it relates to this starts when I was six years old.
It was at that age, in 1972, that my parents decided to divorce, and my father went away. I didn’t see him much after that, and not at all after about a year.
I felt abandoned by my father, without really knowing or understanding why.
And because of that, I transferred that to our Heavenly Father as well. I felt abandoned by Him, because that’s what fathers do. It was just what I learned when I was seven years old.
However, that was not the case. It was something entirely different, only I did not know the situation or circumstances. Nor are they important for the telling of this story.
What is important is that I found that loving father was always there, always loving me even though I rejected him. Talked negative about him. Cursed him. Denied him over and over again.
I spent 40 years of my life being mad at a man who really had not done anything wrong to me personally, but I felt he had by leaving. That all changed starting in 2012, when we were able to start communicating again.
You see, I was very blessed for that opportunity, because my father had kidney troubles, and he had been given a life saving transplant by a wonderful donor. Had that not happened, I may not have had the opportunity to reconcile.
God’s mystery at work.
It all started when I received a Facebook message from a half-nephew. He had grown up knowing I existed, but I did not know of him until this message. Because of privacy settings, it took me several months to get the message.
However, he reached out to me, and introduced himself.
I didn’t know where this was going to go, but I responded to him. He was, after all, related to me. I hadn’t yet let go of the anger with my father, but I was softer. I was open to dialogue.
So I told Jason that I would reach out to my father. It took me a bit of time. I’m sure Jason prepared him, and when I finally wrote to my father, he responded.
We continued a dialogue that allowed us to gain trust and confidence in each other.
He planned a trip to see me here in Reno.
In retrospect, the timing of his visit proved to be another of God’s mysteries at work.
It was early 2013, and I was in a deep funk.
You see, my wife (now my ex) and I moved out of the house we were purchasing because of financial issues. I felt like I had failed deeply, was in a deep depression, and at the height of my anger once more.
In February of 2013, I was angry at the world again, and wanted out of everything.
You see, when we get into that mode, we aren’t thinking rationally, we are just so absorbed into the funk, the depression.
It would take an Act of God to pull me out of it.
Which is exactly what happened. It was in that moment God reached out to me.
It may seem odd looking back, but now I know because of the loss of the house, and so many other events that compounded, I sunk into that deep depression.
Little did I know that it was just me being put into the dirt to blossom again, to be reborn.
There is a verse in one of the Gospel stories in the Bible where the Pharisees and Sadducees asked Jesus for a sign that he was the Son of God. His reply was that no sign would be given to those who could not see it.
Yet that is exactly what He did for me.
I felt a yearning for more, for something better.
So he showed me His love in a song, that set me free and opened me up.
Then he showed me The Word, in visual form in a mini-series.
And then he had one of His most famous stories come alive, for me to experience His love.
You see, because of the song, I started to listen to Christian Radio, and started to experience the Word through song.
Through the mini-series, I experienced the Word through my eyes.
And ultimately, I experienced the story of the Prodigal Son for myself.
The exact date is fuzzy for me, but I do know it was early March, 2013.
The day had come that my father, the man I had not seen since I was 6, was coming to my home in Reno.
I cannot adequately describe the anxiousness and nervousness. I found out later that my father was as anxious and nervous as I.
He and wife Sharon were at the hotel/casino he reserved in downtown Reno. We made arrangements for my wife and I to meet them.
The anxiety grew, but I knew I could not back out. Not now. I felt led here.
You see, the music and stories had softened my heart, although the changes were still private.
I hadn’t told anyone of my enlightenment, of the changes happening in me.
And this was the pinnacle of the moment.
I see my father coming down the escalator, with his wife, and I wait for them.
I outstretch my hand to shake his, man to man.
That’s not what it was going to be.
He wrapped his arms around me, and hugged me, holding me so tightly.
And in that moment, shaped what my vision of God is.
What is that vision?
My vision of God is one of a loving father who never stops loving you, no matter how angry you get at Him, or how much you turn away from Him.
So many things changed in the course of those two days that we spent together.
I found that I was awakened, and wanted more of what He had for me.
I found myself in church on Palm Sunday. There’s a significant reason He called me into church on Palm Sunday, and while I do not know the reason, I follow His will.
I became fully Catholic, embracing His church and Word.
And now, writing my experiences for you, the reader.
I hope to help you understand what can happen when He enters into your life.
What experiences have you had in your life with the Word coming alive for you? Please take the time to write in the comments below, and if this story has touched you, please share it with others.