Letting go of the Prodigal

The roller-coaster ride of the past year has taken its toll on my heart. The havoc that my son’s addiction has wreaked on our family has hit a wall. So many times we have waved a magic wand over the pain and losses we have endured.

Poof… all gone.

Pushing aside the anger, and dusting it over with forgiveness, making every effort to live at peace, to offer another chance… and another…and another.

We verbally tell ourselves that the new items that have come up missing are just “things” we can replace things. He’s still alive, he wants to stay clean; he promises he won’t go back, he’ll get our stuff back. The stuff never comes back, it never gets replaced, and the tangled realities of staying clean and alive are constantly on the cusp of extinction.

I have wrestled for so long with this mother’s heart that just can’t let go of her son.

Much the same way the father in the story of the Prodigal must have. He must have seen it coming, the son becoming restless and dissatisfied with his life, looking for a “better one” or just to do it “my way”. How that father’s heart must have broke when the son demanded his share of the inheritance and his wanting to depart immediately. All that the father had worked for, built, planted, watched over to be divided, cashed out and handed over to a young man who wanted to squander it.

My heart too has broken, so many sweet things that were treasured by us, are now gone. Gifts, tools, toys, money, so very much money has walked away with the son who just has to live his way. Some of which was to be his inheritance, some of which was meant for his siblings. Such sadness has gripped me over all the losses. It’s hard to avoid it now. I’ve had to let go of him, my hands are completely open and have given him over to himself.

My greatest fear … will I be able to be like the father of the prodigal… when he finally hits bottom and truly desires to put it all away, wins over the addictions, gets real help and wants to come back to his family, Will I be willing to run when I see him far off to greet him? My hope is that God will ready my heart, that He will let me know when it is time to fling off the hurt, and run…

John 15: 20…”But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.”