Sunday, March 4, 2012
Prodigal Son … Prodigal Parent
The title sounds like I am going to do a sermon. Set the bar low if that’s an expectation.
In short, if you do not know me and do not follow my blog, I will quickly catch you up to speed so this will make sense:
I am a single mom with 2 girls. I was married about 14 years and now I am not. Da baby daddy is not quite as involved as he was when we were married. He’s no longer the family man I once knew … or thought I knew.
I never expected divorce or any other thing to change how equally 110% involved we both were as parents. From the week to week, day to day standpoint … I do 90-95% solo. That’s how it feels to me. There have been many surges of resentment as to how I am now primarily responsible for what we entered together. Maybe it’s my insecurities and I would feel more confident in guiding the lives of 2 little humans with an ally, or maybe I am selfish and tired.
Regardless, it’s been this way for about 5 years now …
On with the catching up to speed … I am in a 6 month-ish long women’s weekly study group. A couple of months ago, the instructor read the parable from Luke (15: 11-32) about the prodigal son. Even though she changed the sons to daughters so we could identify better, the story didn’t seem to apply to me on a very personal level, yet … it did.
I mean, I got it, but now I GET IT.
A father had 2 sons. The youngest asked for his inheritance now, got it, left town and blew the money. He found himself starving and went back home to dad, even if that meant to be a servant. He realized he’d be better off because his father’s servants had a better life than he was living.
The OLDEST son was the “good kid.” He did as he should and as his father asked. He worked hard and lived an honorable life, seemingly worthy of praise. Yet, when the younger brother came home from his wildness; the dad threw a party, killed the best calf to eat and had a celebration fit for a king.
When big bro came home from work and heard the music, he asked, “What’s going on?”
The servant said (or how I interpret what he heard,) “Your little hellion brother is home and your dad is having a big bash. We are CELEBRATING!! Yay! He’s home!”
The older brother was like, “What the heck dad?! Are you serious? I’ve done all you ever asked and you never threw a party for me or even killed a goat for me and my peeps, much less our fattest calf.”
The dad explained, “You have lived a life full of my gracious generosity, on a daily basis, all I have is yours too. Now everyone is safe, your brother is home. It is a happy time! Come in and let’s celebrate!”
The dad basically reminded the older brother that he had never slighted him and kept a steady stream of blessings constantly flowing the son’s way. The blessings became part of what the older son saw as his “normal” instead of a blessing.
I get why the brother’s ass was chapped. However, now that I am a parent, I get why the dad’s heart soared with joy and forgiving love.
Here’s how this all speaks to me now:
As I see it, the father of my children is equally responsible for our children in every way, not just financially. I resent doing the parent things while he plays video games and such 4 nights a month with one kid and seemingly has fulfilled his responsibilities. That’s the truth no matter how I dress it up. Then, to top it off, when we are in certain situations like school functions, we are seen as equal parents and he receives an equal recognition. If we are so equal … (blah blah blah.)
This week, as my youngest daughter and I were saying our bedtime prayers, it was her turn. She prayed for the basics and at some point she included her daddy. I will often include him as well, but for some reason it struck my earthly flesh that night.
I thought, How many times does this child pray for her mom? It probably has never crossed her mind to pray for ME. What about me? Why does HE get the blessing of her sweet prayers?
Then, I heard the whispered meaning of that parable.
Would I trade places?
Sure, I wipe every tear, but I also receive 90-95% of the memorable smiles. Would I sacrifice all that for my name to be mentioned in a prayer … as though God is not blessing me without that act?
I have received what I longed for, to be a mom and be an active part in the lives of my children. Who am I to factor in what another person does or does not do and allow it to change the facts of what I DO have? Maybe one day their father will realize all he has missed, maybe he won’t. Is that even my problem or concern? Nope.
My choice, predicament and actions are a blessing, not a curse. I would be missing so much, so many things I treasure and wouldn’t trade for any amount of money. One of my greatest, most prideful accomplishments is being a single parent. It’s just me and God on most parenting decisions. He’s Who I must turn to. (Well, sometimes I DO call my dad for parental guidance.)
What a humbling thing to realize in the midst of such blessings, you find room for resentment or feel slighted.
There will be a newfound peace as my daughter prays for her dad with not one ounce of envy toward the “freedom” he has. It is a freedom I do not desire. I simply didn’t see the bigger picture. While her prayers are lifted to Heaven, I’ll absorb and cherish the blessing and privilege of sitting beside my daughter each night, having her near to hug and kiss, and hearing her precious voice as she prays whatever is on her heart.
Posted by Kasi M. Bryon at 1:03 PM