A son leaves home and blows all his money, making poor choice after poor choice. With dirt on his face, shoeless and in repentance, eventually he walks the long road back to the town he grew up in.
As he approaches his home, his father sees him coming. The father begins running, picking up speed as his feet move faster, sandals slapping the ground harder and harder. The son looks up, a heaviness in his stomach filled with shame and agony at the sight of his dad.
No dad, not the coat.
Dad, please, you don’t have to do this, not the ring.
Dad- I understand if you don’t forgive me. You don’t have to say that you do.
I can imagine the son later in the scene, standing outside the doorway of the place he used to call home, hesitating once more.
A party? Are you sure dad? I messed up, bad. I’m embarrassed. Aren’t you embarrassed? Upset? Angry? And now you want to throw a party in relation to the mistakes that I made? This doesn’t feel like a good idea. What will the neighbors think?
“Come in,” the Father replies gently, as many times as it takes until the son believes him.
A busy week rolled into a busy weekend and then found itself repeating, leaving little time for rest. Until, miraculously, there was time, and all bags, purses, gym clothes and books were dropped on the floor in favor of extra sleep (oh, how it goes).
My husband and I have a phrase we repeat to each other as necessary in the middle of the grind: “It’s going to be better than okay.” Not just okay, but all of this, all of these spills and dirt piles and messy situations, are going to be better than that. They are going to be streets not filled with dust, but paved with gold. They are going to be returning home, big feasts, and waves of grace; even on this side, too.
We can love each other into a world that is better than okay.
So we learn how to comfort, how to push when necessary, how to give grace- to others, but also to ourselves. We learn to know when grace is being offered, and as importantly, how to accept it.
Last week brought a special day with an out of town friend, one of those that you don’t see for three years and still find yourself picking up where you left off. A little older, maybe a little smarter, both in different cities, but flowing all the same. So we walked and coffeed and lunched and walked again and ice creamed, because it was a whole day with no responsibilities, so naturally ice cream was involved.
We shared and told stories and laughed about sitting behind Tom Brady at Hamilton (not me) and then we cried in public at a coffee shop (definitely me).
Because through all the talking, a piece of truth sprung out like the pot of soon-to-be pea pods in my front yard after a rainstorm. In the middle of muddled thoughts and continually asking ourselves the same questions over and over again, a different kind of question popped up to guide us in our decision making:
“Have you given yourself permission to make the wrong choice?”
Translation: Did you leave room for grace, did you allow a margin of error, or a margin of not-turning-out-like-you-thought-it-would? Are you giving yourself permission to make a mistake, to not walk this perfectly?
My friend’s older sister wisely asked her this a few weeks ago, and cue my tears in the retelling.
And cue asking if I could borrow her sister every now and then so she can ask me wise questions, too.
Books Read: A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Songs Sang: “A Little Bit of Faith” by Kings Kaleidoscope
Thoughts Provoked: Rethinking Church by Crazy Love Podcast