I have preached sermons and led Bible studies and studied these words over and over again. But still I have not understood. Though I thought I did. And that is the mystery. The wonder. The joy. Isn't it? To be still caught off guard. To realize that there is more to learn. To understand the pilgrimage is relentless--always twisting and turning out of sight in front of you and to be alert and ready. To understand. That you may be called upon to recognize a dark, wide blind spot. And. Be ready to undergo surgery.
The one son--asks for his portion and depart from the homestead. Abandons brother and father to take up the rake and shovel and mend what he has torn away. He doesn't pause. There is deep pain. Ignored. What has been taken is foolishly spent and wasted.
The other son appears to know the way. There is fruit from his labor. The garden grows. The scars of the ripping mend. But when his brother returns, he is dark, hard and unwilling to bend.
For the first time I understand: the good son is no less Lost than the wayward one. The fruit produced was harvested in vain as its reward resulted in nothing worthwhile.
Love is all that matters to the one breathing last breathes.
My Nana wanted one last smile, one last laugh from the "funny guy" and after he left, she left too. Love received. Content to go.
What does it mean to be lost? I have been looking for pictures to illustrate: Lost. The problem with Lost is that there are no pictures. Lost is alone. Lost is separated. Lost is gone, unusable--a lost shoe, a lost dollar, a lost gift card, a lost coin. Lost is hidden away in some dark corner. Out of the camera's view.
One brother is gone. The other brother at home. Neither is of any use to the Father. Both unusable, separated....gone, dead to love extended. But wouldn't it be better to stay and work and help, even with a heart solid from anger and resentment? The answer is hard. Because we know--we know the slammed doors and clanging dishes. They strip away. The take and hurt--punish completely. As they are meant to. No, staying is no good by itself, though we want it to be.
Like the two sisters. One labors as a grudge. The other is wide eyed--soaking up words. The one providing physical nourishment is not rewarded and we, we who stay, we wonder why. We are indignant. We stamp our feet. Arms folded. Eyes down. The blind spot expands. We recoil.
This is what Lost looks like. It happens in inches--when what we think we deserve--what we have rightly earned--is not rewarded. Instead, we are rebuked for our good works? No. We step back. Folded arms tighten, backs are turned. Steps are taken. What about all that we have coming to us? No, I will not join the party. I will not celebrate. I will not sit at your feet. Not when this is how I'm treated for all my labor. I will not be with. I will remain--separated. And...find myself...removed. The way back already seems too far.
And the way back is filled with humility and embarrassment for both brothers--the two Lost ones. For me too. For I have served long and hard--separated and alone and expecting reward. When award is given in the delight of being with one whom we love. The reward is in being found--in being connected to--with, joined, in community. And, I have missed this... again.
Two sons. Two sisters. Only one seems to understand what the Father really requires: Total allegiance. Attention--consumed. Adoration. Love sustained.
September 29, 2011 | Share: