Saturday, June 04, 2011
In the parable of the Prodigal Son, it was recently pointed out to me how the son demanding his inheritance while his father was still alive, was wishing that his father were literally dead. Despite that ill-will being wished upon him from his son, the father went ahead and gave his son his portion and he took his leave of all that his father had offered him.
I have been pondering this and can't get over the ability of this father to go ahead and let his son go. How does a parent do that? How does a father watch his son walk away, turning his back on his father and all that he stands for and believes?
And yet, that same father stands "watch" ever looking for the return of that son. It was the father who was doing that very thing, being the first to "run" to him and fall upon him at his return, symbolizing that he had never given up on that son no matter how terminal their relationship seemed to others.
I am entering a similar situation, and I don't know that I'm as loving as this scriptural father. I keep asking myself how this situation has become mine. Where did it come from? Why does a child no longer cherish or honor that which we believe as a family and what we believe we are eternally? How does a parent act when a child demands no part of the family, disrespects his mother and father, and moves forward on distancing himself from all that has to do with family, church, and all that goes with both?
I have gone through a lot of self-doubt, angst, and pain regarding my sexual orientation and all that that has brought into my marriage, my family, and my belief system. It has been a lonely journey, filled with guilt, confusion and doubt. But, I find myself coming out on the other end of this journey with self-acceptance, clarity and belief.
So, if I can make it through this journey, keeping my family together, and marriage even stronger, how now can I watch a child despise all that I am and believe and wish nothing more to do with what I hold sacred, and want to walk away, his inheritance in his pocket?
How does one respond to this? Can I "love" unconditionally as the Prodigal Son's father, always looking on the horizon for his return? Can I "never give up hope" when things seem so hopeless? Can I just watch this happen and not do anything about it? Should I force him to stay, to love us, to participate in church, to believe? Can anyone force another to believe when belief is gone and not even any desire remains? How do you restore a desire in one's heart when there is none? Is that proverbial flame ever fully snuffed out? extinguished? Why do I feel myself all of a sudden becoming a mighty fan of that pre-mortal alternate plan where I will "make him" obey and bring him back safe and sound in the end under my patriarchal wing whether he wants to be there or not?
Am I just proud, angry at how this is reflecting on me?
Do I love him enough to let him go?
I know this gay-gig has had belief-shattering and hope-struggling moments, but this new chapter(that I know many readers have gone through)has me shattering and struggling all over again...