The Prodigal (from a mother’s perspective)

Brian Kershiznik’s “Halo Repair”

A certain woman had a son. They were not wealthy, but she had given him her time. She had worked with him through his schooling and had helped him understand the things which he did not. She had gone to battle for him when he did mischief and begged those who expressed disappointment, “This is my son. He is a good kid. Don’t make him feel like he’s not.”

And behold, there came a day when she knew in a way that many woman know, through her intuition, that the son had a secret life. She approached him and said, “I think you have a secret life.”

And behold, the son said nothing.

The woman prayed and pondered. “How can I lead my son away from crooked paths and murky water? How can I return him to joy?” And lo, a thought came unto her. She had forgotten her own inheritance, for her grandparents had bequeathed the family a cabin in the woods, and the mother could use it. And it came to pass that the mother did sign up for the cabin, and took her son there for three days.

On the first day, the son was fishing and hurt his knee and did say unseemly words. And the mother took herself into a grove of trees and knelt, praying, “Please let my son catch some fish.” And the second day, the son did catch twelve fish.

And on that day, in the nighttime, the mother sat with her son on the porch, and they both did look into the heavens.

And it came to pass that the son said, “I’m ready to talk.” And he did tell her about his secret life, which was a fearful thing. But the mother was not afraid, for peace surrounded her, and angels were with her, unseen. And she said unto him, “We will not worry about the past, but we will move into the future.”

And the night did come upon them, and the mother slept. The son prayed and learned lessons from God, which he pondered in his heart and did not speak of, for they were sacred and for him alone.

And on the third day, as they prepared to depart the cabin, the son desired to go tubing. The inheritance included tubes, so the mother took her son to a launch point and said unto him, “I’ll see you back at the dock by the cabin.” And she did watch him leave her and float down the river.

And after the mother had cleaned the cabin and packed the car, she went unto the dock and waited. An hour passed, and the son did not return. Even another hour passed, and the son had still not returned.

And the mother did feel that which she often felt: frustration, impatience, anger. For behold, the son was beyond her control. Yea, she could not reach him.

And lo, an angel spoke unto her, though she could not see the angel. And the angel did say:

“Mother, do not be impatient. He is almost here. Wait. He is on his own path and on his own time. He needs to see you, and you need to be happy.”

And another hour passed, and the mother began to turn back. But the angel repeated, “Mother, do not be impatient. He is almost here. Wait. He is on his own path and on his own time. He needs to see you, and you need to be happy.”
And even again, the angel did repeat the words.

And behold, as the mother looked, she did see her son returning with his tube, and she smiled and waved. And the son did come back to her and did tell her of marvelous things he had seen on his river trip, for he had seen schools of salmon and even had seen a great bird pluck a fish from the water, and he was content.

And it came to pass that the mother and her son left the cabin and did return to the place of temptation, and the son did partake again and made other journeys along the crooked paths and into dark waters, and the mother feared. Yet she did remember the angel’s words, and she did not despair.

And she read of the Prodigal Son in the book of Luke and saw that the father met his son on the path, not within the household. Thus, she knew that she was called to be with her son in prayer or in person wherever he was. And she did understand that the son would need to be in another household, away from the crooked paths he knew. And behold, a way had been prepared, for the mother had a daughter in another place, and the daughter did love her brother. Therefore, the mother and daughter did care for the son, and the father did bless them all.

The father, too, had been praying, and the mother and the father counseled together, and they held hands as they blessed their son, for thy did love him with a love that would not fail.

And behold, the son did face both awful things and marvelous things on his journey, which was his alone. And he did know that his mother and his father would never abandon him. And his mother told him of angels which watched over him, and he did believe.

About Margaret Blair Young

Margaret Blair Young teaches literature and creative writing at Brigham Young University. For the past fifteen years, she has specialized in the history of blacks in the west, particularly black Mormons. She has written six novels and two short story collections, but has lately become interested in filmmaking. Her current endeavor is a film to be shot in Zambia called Heart of Africa (www.heartofafricafilm.com)

  • Bruce Young

    A beautiful and sacred (and as yet unfinished) story. I love the mother
    and son; I am the father–in the story and in life. But since this is a
    parable, I am sure this is in some form or another the story of
    thousands of others. All of our paths are at times dark and
    crooked–but I am confident we are headed toward the light.


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