Every good preacher writes about the Biblical story of the Prodigal Son. Deceased Rev. Henri Nouwen wrote, as did many others, that we all play each role sometime in our life.
I can recall when I was briefly a prodigal. I was doing something wrong and I knew it and the only way I could continue was to make my folks old fashioned know-nothings.
I also recall when I was the older 'brother' looking with scorn upon my 'prodigal' sister. She hadn't run away, but was getting alot of attention and priviledges from our parents because of a learning disorder. I was jealous.
Now I am the parent of a prodigal. With 8 children I expect to go through this spiritual disorder, one child at a time.
The current prodigal is 18 and a US Marine. He doesn't want to talk to us and skirts every issue we put before him. I think he is running away from God because of guilt.
No matter what the reason, I feel profound pain over this.
My first prodigal got married to his 8 month pregnant girl friend. They divorces less than 2 years later. He is remarried to remarkable woman who I really love. I wish she were baptized and a practicing Catholic. I wish their children were baptized, too. Dan only calls when he wants something....and they never say thank you for anything I do.
My second prodigal at 23 is over being a prodigal. But from the age of 12 to 20 he was a prodigal and learning by hard knocks. He got arrested, broke his back, ran for his life, got arrested again, and finally learned his lessons. He knows he has to play be society's rules. He calls us 3 or 4 times a week just to hear our voice and freely admits we are his best friends.
This prodigal stuff hurts the parents so much. I can't bear to think I will go through it again with any of the 5 children left at home........
Give me strength Lord to love even when I get hurt.