Have you seen or heard the story about the homeless man in Columbus that was on The Today Show and has gone viral on the web? He has an amazing voice (A "God-given talent") and a Columbus Dispatch Videographer captured him on film. The man is famous and now he has job offers and contracts and will have a home again.
I am so happy that this man is getting a chance. He's gotten his life together and we all know that having employment and a place to live goes a long, long way toward stability. Yes, he made choices that got him into this predicament, but we've all made poor choices on occasion.
No, we all haven't made choices to get involved with drugs or we don't have addictions or whatever. But I think, if we're being honest, we've all made a decisions that could have gotten us into deep water had things worked out differently.
So, I am glad this man is getting a chance to rebuild his life. I pray that he is able to maintain his sobriety (2 years clean and sober) and enjoy some success and happiness. God bless, sir.
This morning, I saw he and his mother on The Today Show. What a joyous reunion they had! And then she started talking and I had to pick my jaw up off the floor. She was concerned about the shame he had brought on the family by holding that sign. She was worried that he would disappoint her. (She said to him upon their reunion, "Don't disappoint me.")
The Husband turned to me and said, "In the story of the prodigal son, she is not the father, she's the brother." She couldn't just be thankful that she had him back, she was concerned about herself, her shame, her pride. She talked a lot about her faith in God but apparently she missed a whole parable. She may want to go and read it (Luke 15:11-32) and maybe learn that when the father saw his son coming, he disgraced himself by running out to welcome him. (See, that seminary degree is coming in handy. ;) )
As much as I wanted to judge her, I remembered John 8:7, "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her." NRSV
My heart ached a bit for this man. To know that he had stopped calling home because he didn't want to bring pain and disgrace to his mother broke my heart and made me evaluate my own relationships and words.
I have told my kids they've disappointed me. I knew it would sting and my goal was behavior modification. I am thinking about it differently now. I don't think I've told them not to disappoint me at the outset. "Do your best." "Be nice." "Make good choices." Those I utter every day. Is it the same thing just phrased differently? I don't know? I think I'm trying to give them positive goals . helpful reminders of what you do in polite society.
I know I tell them I love them no matter what, but I've also told them I won't visit them in jail. (I saw a movie once where visitors got trapped in prison during a riot....)
In the parable of the prodigal son, Jesus tells of a father's unconditional love for his son...of God's unconditional love for us all. It doesn't matter if we leave home and blow all our money, we're still welcome with open arms and a big ol' party!
Thank you, God, for loving me when I blow it and giving me another chance. I pray that I can show that grace in my own actions and words.