I Don't Like the Prodigal Son

I adore and admire the pastor who just retired from my church.  He was everything I had hoped for in a church leader; he did some great work with our congregation.  And he gave some really great sermons.  BUT (and you know a but had to be coming), one of his favorite sermon topics was the Prodigal Son.

Let me say it straight out, I hate the parable of the Prodigal Son.  While I understand the message behind it (God loves you and is there for you no matter how much you mess up and you are always welcome into God's loving arms no matter what), I just don't "get" it.  Probably because when it comes to the story, I AM the older, reliable child who stays home and does what need to be done.  I understand why the older son pulls a hissy fit when the younger comes back and the father throws a welcome home party complete with the killing of the fatted calf.  If it were me, I would have done the same.  I would have stomped my feet and shouted, "THAT'S NOT FAIR!!!  WHEN IS IT MY TURN?!?!?!"

And then it was pointed out to me...as much as the younger son chose to go out and carouse, the older son also CHOSE to stay at home.  And my life is a result of MY choices.

I have to admit that there are times when I wonder what if.  If I had chosen to do something different how would my life be?  I'll also admit that (probably) like the older son, there's a little bit of fear that has kept me on the path that I have trod.  Could I have traveled the world?  Moved on my own across country?  Picked a different career path? Of course I could have, but my own personal fears as well as my personal commitment to my family  I am where I am because of what choices I have made.  Where I go also depends on those choices.

And while I acknowledge that, it doesn't mean that there won't be times in my life when I whine just like the older son.  I want my life to be easier.  I want to have the things that I WANT (never mind the financials).  I want to be seen as the faithful child, wife, parent, etc., yet at the same time I want to experience things that I probably will not or might not have the chance to do because of these obligations.  I've been told that life isn't fair or easy, but that doesn't make it any more acceptable to my inner child.

But when I have these breakdowns/tantrums, I'm going to TRY and remember, that like it has been my That if I truly wanted to, I could run away and join the metaphorical circus.  But if I am honest with myself, would that make me any happier?  While my responsibilities might wear me down, they also lift me up.

I may never like the parable of the Prodigal Son, but when I hear it again, I will remind myself of my choices and my path have made me the person that I am today.  And if I want to change that, I have the power to do so.



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