Monday, April 30, 2012

Prodigal Ponderings


I've never liked the parable of The Prodigal Son (Luke 15). I know it gives so many people hope and assurance of the abundant love and forgiveness of God as the father races to welcome home his dissolute son who had spurned him and thrown his life away. Problem is, I've always identified with the older brother in the story, the one who stayed home and was loyal and obedient, and that son doesn't come off looking very good.

It's clear in the Bible that the older son doesn't recognize the father's true character and wants to organize the world according to what he thinks is fair and what's not. He feels hurt and disappointed to see his father lavish love on the younger son when he returns from his life of debauchery. There's a "What about me?" quality in the older brother's response that resonates in my life.

As a kid, I wanted to be my parents' favorite, and I thought I deserved to be because I was a rule follower. When my siblings, especially my sister, did anything wrong, I'd be quick to point it out, thinking this would win me brownie points. Yes, once I even rang the neighbors' door bell to inform them, an older couple, that, "My sister picks her boogers and eats them!" For some reason, they gave me strange looks, and I walked home perturbed.

I tried to help around the house, not so much to ease my mother's burden, but to look good. A glance at an Easter picture of the three siblings from around this time will show you two kids smiling at the camera, and another looking at her siblings' baskets to see if there's been an equitable chocolate distribution.

I didn't understand at the time that we love our children differently, because they are unique, but that it wasn't some big contest.

Whatever I did could not make my parents love me more or love my siblings less. I wss keeping score in an exhausting game of tallying, but my parents weren't. This irked me, because I wanted to live in a world that made sense to me, with neat lines and graphs and deposits and withdrawals. I helped around the house. I could find my shoes. My homework sheets were uncrumpled. I did not want to live in a world where good things happened to "bad people", and in my protected suburban life as a 10 year old with an unfortunate Dorothy Hamill haircut and a year older sister who looked like Farrah Fawcett, I thought I knew who should land squarely in the "bad" category. Life was so unfair!

I learned that my parents were showing me what God's love was like. No amount of striving on my part made a difference, and it was, in fact, embittering and exhausting.

My way left no room for grace and forgiveness. My way put God in a little legalistic box of my making.

And even though I grew and changed (and my sister became my best friend!) I stayed pretty much on this course, wanting to be good and be obedient. It fit with my personality. A life on the wild side just seemed too stressful and out of character to me. When I'd hear about the younger son sowing his wild oats in the parable, well, actually being reduced to eating food out of a pig's trough, my heart would race and I felt like I would get a rash.

Now, after Jack's death, I wonder if deep down inside, I thought that following rules and being a "good girl" would/could/should protect my family and me from heartache. It seems so simplistic, so ridiculous, but I think my righteous indignation that good things happened to bad people (the younger son in the Bible) was really a desire to keep bad things from happening to good people (me, of course!)

So stupid, so flawed. So untrue.

I know that's not the way of this world. Horrible things happen to good people. Children in Africa being preyed upon by warlords. Kids with cancer. Sex slavery. Chronic illness. And on and on and on.

But in my little suburban world, where Dorothy Hamill and Farrah Fawcett may have given way foil highlights and Brazilian blowouts, but where much has stayed the same, I wonder if in trying to be good, or hoping to keep life "fair" I was grasping for control over something I never had any control over in the first place.

69 comments:

Geri said...

I think this is your best share yet. Thank you for writing it.

Anonymous said...

After reading this, I realized that I think that way. Bad things happen to other people. That couldn't happen to us. Etc.

Thanks for sharing.

MK Gregory said...

Me too, Anna, me too. Love to you and your family.
:)MK

Leslie said...

Oh, Anna, how many truths are in this post? Too many to count. Can any of us really come to terms with the lack of control we have in so many areas of our lives? I mean, I'd like to say, "Thank GOD we Christians are trusting the control we don't have to... GOD. The perfect, perfectly loving, all understanding creator of everything" - but what about those times when we hate what came about? What about this? Yes, we live in a fallen world. But how do our human minds really wrap around all of this? Loss and pain for anyone, out of nowhere, no matter what? Thank God we have God to lean into. But still... I'm so sorry for the pain, and I always pray for it to be eased for each of you, and also I pray for understanding, some way for the Lord to make some type of sense of this - because I want clean lines and everything, too. Things just have to make sense. I know they won't always, fallen world and all, but I still pray for SOME sense to be given to each of you, and therefore some pain to be eased.

Always praying.

p.s. When I was about 8, I told my friend/neighbor that my cousin (my one year-older, much prettier and cooler cousin who had come to visit for the weekend) that she picked her nose and ate her boogers. For real. It was about 1984, under a big tree in my front yard in Pittsburgh. I'll never ever forget it. I've never told anyone that. Ha!

Marta said...

I've always believed that if I imagined it it wouldn't happen. Not a matter of who was good or bad, but it seemed like the terrible things that happened, happened to those who least expected them. So even when I was little I would always conjure up the worst. Because if I acknowledged that it could happen to me, perhaps than it wouldn't.

A Speckled Trout said...

I'm such a basket looker, a rule follower, a frequent pain in the ass of others and myself. I tell my kids every day that life isn't fair but deep down think it should be if you play be the rules.

Like you I hate the prodigal son story because I'm the older one. The dutiful one. The safe choices one. Maybe the real reason the dad was so happy to have the heathen come home had nothing to do with being lost and then found. Maybe it was because day in and day out with Goodie Two Shoes was wearing on his last nerve.

Laura said...

What "A Speckled Trout" said.

luv2run said...

You are the BEST WRITER!!!! The way you see things and the way you can write it out on paper is unreal to me! I am in constant awe of your posts!!!!

Hugs!

luv2run

That gentleman's lady said...

Great post!

I find that I often try to find a reason for why bad things that happen. As if they can be explained away by something I've done to deserve it. THen I have to stop myself from going down that path before it gets too crazy.

Suburban Correspondent said...

Well, if you were, you were no different from 99% of the folks sharing those suburbs with you. The thing is, until those illusions are stripped from you, you don't even realize you are harboring them. No one does.

L said...

I will let your flawed Farrah Fawcett memories outweigh the fact that you have now told 1300+ of our internet neighbors that slanderous booger tale ;).

You are a-freaking-mazing. But I already knew that.

Jessica said...

Oh I so identify with this. I was always a rule follower too and I remember laying in my hospital bed 28 weeks pregnant, having made it through 10 weeks of hospital bedrest thinking that after ALL I had done ALL the "rules" I had followed that things would be absolutely fine. I thought I had it covered and had control.
I think this is one part of loss that has shaken me so much, that I don't have control over what can happen day to day and there are no guarantees, no matter how many rules I follow.

New Mom said...

I can't even begin to tell you how much this resonates with me. I am on the other side of loss, having not experienced it in any major way, but I have this fear that it's coming for me. We don't know what life holds and it's scary standing on this side of things not knowing what lies ahead. And I know deep down (not all that deep) I have that same exact idea... if I'm careful, I can avoid it. I'm sorry, Anna, that something really bad happened to you- I don't think all your rule-following was in vain, but it sure seems unfair. I know there are great teachings on the prodigal son that have made me appreciate the story more, but in light of you losing Jack, I'm speechless as to what those good points were. Love and blessings to you!

Anonymous said...

A few months ago our priest provided an interpretation of the prodigal son parable and described how both of the sons were in the wrong:

the older son was educated in the Word (followed the "letter" of the law) but really didn't understand them in "spirit", i.e. was short on "grace"

the younger son did not follow God's laws nor did he care to educate himself to them, but later repented and through God's "grace" was able to come back to the father (i.e. God)

Both are essential elements in our relationship to God: we need to educate ourselves in the word and we need God's grace through prayer to build our union with him. Neither can stand on its own.

Nothing relevant to Jack here, but I wanted to share this.

Personally, in my opinion I like the parable, it means we all have a shot at salvation. Like our priest said at our wedding we live in a world where everyone talks about "right", but the most important right we have is the everyone has the right to be forgiven. Like Jesus said he came for the sinners not the righteous...

Rach said...

I too have never liked the parable of the Prodigal Son because I too kept identifying with the older, obedient son and his treatment. It never seemed right or FAIR that the younger son left, spent all his money, came home and was greeted so enthusiastically. I still struggle with that image, although I DO appreciate the symbolism of God's love for us.

I'm an oldest, always careful, always trying to stay on the "good" side of things and that didn't save me from the loss of my girl. I identify with so much you have written here.

As always, I'm so sorry for your loss.

Hugs and prayers,
Rach

Brooke said...

Oh Anna, I am right there with you...I am a first-born "good girl" with a younger, wilder brother who is adored by my parents. We even jokingly refer to my brother as the "the Prodigal" sometimes. LOL! But last year when studying this again in my Community Bible Study I got fired up again. All the ladies were "picking" on the poor oldest son, when all I could do is relate to him! And I felt God point out to me the verse I had read many times before....

“‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

"You are ALWAYS with me, and EVERYTHING I HAVE IS YOURS"...don't worry about what anyone else has. You have all you will ever need, because you have me and everything I have is yours. Oh yeah God, I forgot that! Big Aha moment for me!

Thanks for your honesty and humor as always! Love you sister! :0)
Brooke

Anonymous said...

Anna, I just wanted to say I love this post and I love your blog. I came to it after you lost Jack but I have read all the past posts and love your humor and honesty.

This post is so true, and something I thought about a lot after losing my baby in the third trimester after years of infertility.

The thing is, you know theoretically that life is unfair and bad things happen to good people. You hear about people getting cancer and you never think, they must have done something wrong to have such a terrible thing happen to them.

But then something terrible happens in your life and that's when you really realize just how unfair life is. It comes as such a shock (at least it did for me). And because you can't quite believe it, you start to think maybe you did something to deserve it. But you didn't do anything and that's when you start to accept and understand just how unfair life is. Learning to live with that knowledge is the hard part.

thanks for sharing your grief.

Amie

Lady Jennie said...

I've definitely sowed my wild oats and yet I still relate more to the older son. In fact I'm having some very "older son" moments right now of bitterness and hurt that I'm trying to work through.

I'm having trouble trying to explain it, so I'll leave it at that. But one thing I learned from Job is that bad things happen at times that have absolutely nothing to do with our goodness or lack thereof. Job's friends were trying to tell him he must have sinned in some way to have suffered to that degree, but God was angry with them for saying this and Job had to pray for them so that God would forgive them.

That's something, at least, that's pretty clear in my mind. Suffering does not automatically correspond with goodness or sin.

Geri said...

@Suburban Correspondent-"until those illusions are stripped from you, you don't even realize you are harboring them. no one does".

so true. and i find that sometimes i want to show people that they are illusions, and can get frustrated they don't see it. and thanks for reminding me that they won't see it if the illusions haven't been stripped from them.

of course, it was never my job or place to try and strip them anyway, so there's that, too.

Loukia said...

It's all so true, that bad things always happen to good people. It's something I realised since becoming a mom, more than ever before, and it's the reason I sturggle more now than ever before with my religion. The how and why's that can never be answered, make me sometimes question my faith.

kim jackson said...

yep.

Anne said...

Anna,
That's is so true.We think things won't happen to us Christians.God won't let bad things happen.I'm good,I go to church I believe,I help etc.But it does not matter.Good people get cancer,good people get kidnapped,and so on.But when bad things happen that is when our faith is really challenged.And knowing that God does not do those bad things.And we need to love him even more and grow closer in our faith.Keeping all all in our prayers now,always and forever.
Anne

Meredith Self said...

my parents would be retired with multiple homes around the world if they had a penny for every cry of..."it's not FAIR!" i soooo hear you. and i so tried to earn it, too!

in the last few years, i've come to drop all the labels after "life is____": fair, good, bad, sucks. seems to me that what reality shows me is this: Life Is.

at least, that's what it seems. the only word i can ever say after "life is" without cringing that something isn't true with my story about life is this: Life is a mystery.

it just all seems so much more at ease when i don't label anything and just am present with it. and i see in all that you write and share, so many ways you inspire us all (and mother us all) in being present and really loving now. i'm so sorry for all the pain you are experiencing. love you so much. your inspiration and courage and love matter so much.

Anonymous said...

I hear Anna thinking so deeply, so profoundly about this parable. I can only imagine the thought and prayer that went into the writing of this post.

It reminded me of the late Susan Niebur (who is honored in the LTYM event Anna is doing) writing about the same parable:

"I can’t imagine a scenario where anyone would be happy to get cancer at 35, and think oh, yeah, well, that’s fair. That’s ridiculous! But I am coming to terms with it, and it’s easier when I stop comparing my life to others. I wasn’t promised the same life as my neighbors. I was promised a life....

When I got ill, I begged and pleaded and prayed that I could get the oldest one settled in kindergarten, on his way to a life of loving school, and the littlest, then barely more than a newborn, in a preschool that he loved, with support from friends and teachers and the families of his friends were anything to happen to me then. I couldn’t imagine that I could live that long, but I prayed and I tried and I kept fighting. These dreams have come true. The boys are settled into a wonderful school, where they are loved, and supported, and safe, part of the school family, and they spend their days as they should, learning and playing, and when they come home, we are lucky enough to spend time together, with milk and cookies, then doing homework and practice on their letters...

I have everything I ever wanted."

http://toddlerplanet.wordpress.com/2011/09/23/its-not-fair/

Anonymous said...

Chills...up & down my arms! Very thought provoking
Sandie brown

lelknits said...

Gosh you are good. I too see myself as the older son, and i get toward the end of the tale and watch myself standing against a wall at the great feast, looking at my father adoring my younger brother. I feel so small and petty and wonder why I cant revel in the fun, and the joy and the forgiveness, when it is just not fair!

And then I strive to fall somewhere between the two brothers, until the tale is told again and I find myself standing back against the wall, apart and pouting.

But from now I will see it all differently from a better
viewpoint, a bit closer in, and smiling. Thank you, you are extraordinary.

God Bless

Mrs. E said...

I sooooo get you. And I marvel at your ability to put it in words.

Princess Kate said...

Not only do I think this way but I have always thought this to be true. If I go to church, teach my children about God and do good deeds, I can avoid tragedy. I'm REALLY afraid to stop believing that way. It's too scary for me.

You are an amazing woman Anna and I am so proud of you. You are making a difference in this world.

Laura at Ms. Smartie Pants said...

Oh Anna, you are so wise! Sucks to learn what we thought was working for us really didn't. I read the book The Prodigal son by Henry Nouwen last year, lovely book and looks at more than the obvious story we've always known. You should read it, I think it could really be helpful. Prayers and hugs as always!

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Your last paragraph lays out the truth--the truth we all fear, but know, or should know, in our heart of hearts is true.

I'm a good girl, too and I know exactly what you mean.

Thrift Store Mama said...

Beautiful writing.

Ellen Stewart (aka Ellie/El/e/Mrs. Seaman) said...

One of the reasons I ran from Christianity for so long is there is a preponderance of belief out there that many Christ Followers think they have it made. It just lacked sincerity and reality.

I remember even Joel Osteen talking about this once in a message--we're protected. Not an Osteen fan, I was livid.

As macabre as it sounds, when I first turned back to God, only a handful of years ago, I sought out people who had been through the worst and STILL believed. I found plenty.

Some expressed the same feelings as you did in this post, "But I ws so good..." All said they experienced a great shift in faith when they realized the only way they were getting through "this" (whatever their "this" was, and yes, it was sometimes the death of a child) was with God firmly holding them in His grip.

I wanted to be held like that.

Anonymous said...

I spent the first 30 years of my life as the "good girl". In the last 15...Ive stepped outside the lines a few times. And...the world hasn't ended. Nothing bad has happened.

We behave as we do....and life happens around us. Sometimes there's cause and effect...often, not so much.

Beth Zimmerman said...

I related to every single word of this! Too well!

IrishRN07 said...

Anna, allow me to jump in here! I identify with you on two fronts: Your feelings about siding with the more responsible sibling and also suffering from the same unfortunate skater-inspired haircut.
I've spent a lot of time thinking about that parable and I have concluded that both brothers figure prominently and the message is clear for both the "rule followers" as well as the rebels. I've read carefully and I cling to one line, and it has nothing to do with how the father addresses the prodigal one, rather the rule follower: "My son, all that I have is yours."
.. ALL that HE has is mine. yeah, ok. I'll take that. I'll cling to that. I believe with all my heart that you can too.

Hugs,
Maureen

Ann Imig said...

No amount of striving on my part made a difference, and it was, in fact, embittering and exhausting.

I need this reminder constantly. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Oh, so true. I've always deep inside felt that if I loved my children enough and was a good enough mother, then nothing bad could ever happen to them(my very worst fear). If only that were true:(

The Kitchen Pixie said...

Thank you, Anna. I do the same thing, coming up with silly-crazy "rules" for keeping (further) disaster away, as if somehow me being a better/ fairer/ more aware/ more efficient person would make a difference. It is so comforting to hear it described in someone else who isn't crazy! A friend of mine described me as a person sitting in a tiny little boat, trying desperately to steer the river rather than allow it to take its own, unknown, course. I'm working on letting go. I'm working on acknowledging that sometimes it makes more sense to just trust that things will go where they go, even if I stop watching and orchestrating All The Things for a few minutes. But it can be so hard, especially in the face of wanting a magic wand to prevent anything bad from happening to good people EVER AGAIN. Sometimes the fear overwhelms me, and I wake up in the middle of the night *certain* that something terrible is about to happen. Again. But there are good moments too, and I celebrate each second of peace. They are coming more these days. I hope and pray that you will find them, too.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a big theologist, and I can't imagine what you're going through. But I would say that there is a point in being good and obeying the rules; heaven. You'll see the logic there xxxxxxxxx

Anonymous said...

WOW. Just WOW. You express yourself so well. Thank you for sharing so much with all of us. You make me think and feel and process. Hugs to you all. You and your family are always in my thoughts and prayers

Anonymous said...

Marta- that is me EXACTLY. Thank you for writing Anna, gives us so much to think about

-another rule follower

Renee said...

WOW.... Are you my twin? I have always thought this way too. Now I have two children and they are always seeing who is "loved" more. I so wish they were older and if they read your post, they would so get it too! One of my favorite posts from you, by far!

Anonymous said...

Good job! We miss the mark so often in church, implying that everything will go better with us if we just follow Jesus. People either think we're deluded, or get disillusioned when it's not true. This is something we need to work through, because it kills the credibility of the true messages in the Bible and the rewards of a life following Christ!

Anonymous said...

That's a good analysis.

My thoughts are with you. So very sorry you have to experience this awful loss.

Best wishes....
K x

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

This resonates with me. I have been both the Prodigal and the older brother, and I suspect one day might also be the father in this story (not that I am anything like God because most assuredly I am NOT).

Anna, I came here to read (via Suburban Correspondent) after your beloved Jack died. We lived in NoVA for 4 years and my 12yo son would have been at the creek, too. I think of you and your family and my heart melts.

L said...

I keep reading this one again and again and am thankful for the way you are impossibly ministering to so many people through your honesty. You are a light in the darkness. Jack would like that you are bringing even really hard truths to light.

Anonymous said...

You do not know me, but I love to read your blog. This post is totally describing the way I am with my siblings still! and we are all grown up, and married with kids. I am so glad I read this and need to change my ways! Thank you for writing this. I keep you in my Prayers

Anonymous said...

you are so very brave.
beautiful thoughts

Laura said...

I've read this one several times now. Your honesty, revealed so beautifully through your talented way with words, is a gift to so many. Your heartfelt words have such a ripple effect spreading out in all directions - making countless people think, reflect, and pray.

And then pray some more.

Jack must be so terribly proud of you.

Praying for you - and hoping you are feeling his presence nearby when you most need it.

Anonymous said...

I think Jesus wants us all to find our way home, and when we do we belong to a family of God, who rejoices in our home coming. We should never be envious or jealous, we should be dancing like the angels in heaven.
the older brother was at fault for his selfishness, when he should of been rejoicing..

I think of a time in my life when i ran away from home, and I was not given the treatment that my siblings thought I should of gotten.
My parents were rejoicing, because they were glad I was home and alive!
I love the transparency you show in this blog Anna, your light is shining through.. precious Jack is smiling down on you!
I wish bad things did not have to happen to good people, kids taken away so soon, loves leaving us with a whole in our heart, but as we focus our gaze upward, we know that there has to be something better, something that we can comprehend in this life. I believe that with all my heart.
xo
Joyce

Anonymous said...

I think Jesus wants us all to find our way home, and when we do we belong to a family of God, who rejoices in our home coming. We should never be envious or jealous, we should be dancing like the angels in heaven.
the older brother was at fault for his selfishness, when he should of been rejoicing..

I think of a time in my life when i ran away from home, and I was not given the treatment that my siblings thought I should of gotten.
My parents were rejoicing, because they were glad I was home and alive!
I love the transparency you show in this blog Anna, your light is shining through.. precious Jack is smiling down on you!
I wish bad things did not have to happen to good people, kids taken away so soon, love ones leaving us with a whole in our heart, but as we focus our gaze upward, we know that there has to be something better that we can't comprehend in this life.
xo
Joyce
spelling mistakes in the above one..sorry

Kate Coveny Hood said...

I have a lot of "life isn't fair" conversations with myself. In my head of course... This has always been an issue for me - but as I get older, the "life isn't fair - get over it and focus on what you DO have" line of thinking seems to keep me off the ledge. And think we have to create the illusion of control over our uncertain lives - even ijust just gets us through the day.

IrishRN07 said...

Seriously! Where is the "like" button here? I would love to "like" people's comments. Specifically, a shout-out to your sister. Well said!

Claire Plante said...

What a thought provoking post. Thank you for the gift of your writing! I identify with so much of what you wrote - the need to strive for control by being "good" when everything around you is nuts and out of control (or feels that way). Now I instead strive for peace in my heart, with mixed success but at least I feel like I'm striving for the right thing.

As for the world and bad things happening to good people and good things happening to bad people and vice versa, I don't know the saying or verse (perhaps someone can chime in): the rain falls on the just and the unjust among us.

Again, thank you for your writing and the gift it is to all of us.

Love,
Claire Plante

Lisa said...

I identify with this...especially the entire "if-I-follow-the-rules-and-am-a-good-person-God-will-treat-me-well" thing. And, while I haven't suffered the loss of a child, I, too, have come to wonder if it was just my attempt to control something that is not in my power. This is a very powerful post. Thank you for sharing it with us.

Mags said...

The "older child" is me-to-a-T. This post REALLY hit home...
Thanks,
:) Mags
everydayplaces.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Maybe the story should actually be the story of the prodigal sons (plural) -- who named this anyway? Not Jesus anyway. It's the story of the son who missed the point and ran away and ended up with more than he deserved, as well as the story about the son who stayed home and missed the point and will end up with more than he deserves. Aren't we blessed!

Suzanne said...

I would be the younger son in the story, and my oldest daughter would very much be the older son in the story. I have never understood her need to ensure 100% equality in everything, down to the number of pieces of candy in the Easter baskets. I have never been able to see it from her perspective. Thank you for sharing!!

Unknown said...

I have followed your blog for quite a while now and this past Saturday my sister drowned while in the river with her 10 year old daughter. Through my grief stricken stupidity, I can't find an email address to send you a letter. Is there any way you can get in touch with me? I have questions and need love and strength and advice that I would love most from you. If you can't, I understand, but I will keep my fingers crossed to hear from you. Thank you (oh and my email is laineybonser@yahoo.com)

Lainey

L said...

Lainey, I am so sorry to hear this. I will pray for your comfort and strength. Liz

Evelyn Louise said...

I haven't listened to the sermon myself, but wonder if it might be worth listening to as far as Steven Furtick's use of the story of the Prodigal Son in his sermon this week...
http://hollyfurtick.com/monday-morning-commentary-april-30-2012/

(this is a link to his wife's blog - she blogs about his sermon on Mondays - but there is a link to the sermon at the end)

Kristin said...

We all spend our lives cultivating the illusion of control. It's too scary to admit that there are no guarantees, that anything and everything can be taken from us in a second.

But people who have experienced loss like yours have that illusion of control stripped away. And that experience can teach you to rest in the unsure, impermanent and groundless nature of existence. And only when we can do that can we truly be free.

I know you have talked about experiencing "the peace that passeth all understanding." I think that is the feeling that comes when we lay down our illusions of control and surrender to reality.

Kristin said...

We all spend our lives cultivating the illusion of control. It's too scary to admit that there are no guarantees, that anything and everything can be taken from us in a second.

But people who have experienced loss like yours have that illusion of control stripped away. And that experience can teach you to rest in the unsure, impermanent and groundless nature of existence. And only when we can do that can we truly be free.

I know you have talked about experiencing "the peace that passeth all understanding." I think that is the feeling that comes when we lay down our illusions of control and surrender to reality.

The Bipolar Diva said...

this really struck a chord with me, not because I always tried to be good, but because I feel so lost. Ok, so I'm crying now. Beautiful post Anna.

Bonnie said...

I could not have said it better. Thank you.

The Empress said...

It's that very last line that says it all:

the fear, we as parents try to control: because of fear of loss.

We try.

And then, still, this can happen.

So sorry, A.

Teachinfourth said...

There are times when I want to change the world, moments when I want to BE that change I wish to see. I guess it's really true that expression that we need to think globally, but to act locally.

To do what we can when we can.

PeachPrenni said...

Wow. Great post Anna. Very reaching and insightful. You are growing so much through all of this and it's evident in your writing. It doesn't make your loss any less but you are growing spiritually and learning more about yourself every day and transforming into an even better version (hard to imagine) of yourself. You inspire me always.
Annie

Anonymous said...

Hi Anna, you dont need to post my comment. I just found your blog through some other links. I didn't read your entire post but I totally agree with you on that parable. I never liked it either. I always identified with the older brother too. Until one day someone said we are all like the younger brother and Christ is the older brother. I know it isn't a perfect parallel but it helped a little bit for me. And I don't know how you lost your son, but I just wanted you to know that as a mom, I can only imagine your pain. I just wanted to offer you my anonymous condolences! I hope the pain will subside and that you will find joy in the memories. Love and prayers your way!