In Full Disclosure

In Full Disclosure September 5, 2014

10469303_10204218488640142_6866831756739235810_oI am not a writer.

There, I’ve said it and it feels good to get the truth out there.

I took a course in Holistic Spirituality a few years back at the age of 42 and the nun handed out the requirements which included three papers. I gently informed her that I was “auditing” the course and saw no need to write papers. I will never forget her gentle chuckle as she informed me that I most certainly WOULD be completing the papers and she had full confidence in my ability.

BUT, BUT….I haven’t written since college and I was a—- business major!!

Not only did I finish the papers, each unique topics and commentary on my faith journey, but I loved every minute of it and re-read them quite often. The intuitive intelligence apparently is like a muscle that just needed a little coaxing and a whole lot of faith. I now know that by writing vulnerably and boldly, there are many people who are inspired to trust that they too have something valuable to share and it is uniquely their own.

I am an anawim– an ordinary person who experiences extraordinary spirit-led depths. You don’t need to be an enlightened guru, missionary, preacher or mystic to share your journey with others, just leading with humility and authenticity is more than enough.

My favorite itty bitty poem by Mary Oliver:

Pay Attention
Be Astonished
Tell About it!

So I commit to do this with the Emerging Voices community as I bring you into our corner of the world. My first post, staying with the theme of ‘you don’t need to be a writer’, is from my husband and 16-year old daughter. We have been dealing with the tumultuous teen years and with our recent opportunity to learn from our mistakes, I suggested that our situation reminded me of the parable of the prodigal son. I thought it would be healing to write our own perspectives as to how this ancient story pertains to present day. My hope is that other parents might feel less alone and us  sharing how God is A L I V E inside each of us, would be inspiring to people.  I am honored to write about  how we are surrendering our mistakes and even shame, throwing them onto the flame of  internal transformation.

Bob and Anita’s take:

The story of the prodigal son is one of great forgiveness and hopes to teach us where our focus should be in times of great heartache involving our children. It is  a story of great faith—faith that God ALWAYS has a plan, even though we may not understand it.

All parents dread a  call like the one  that we received last week. Our kids, ages 15 and 16, headed to a concert and at 7 p.m. , we received a call from the medic area advising us that our daughter had been drinking.  I, Bob, cannot explain how my heart literally hurt when my wife called me. I instantly broke into a cold sweat and did my best to hold back tears as I left a meeting. Only fathers of daughters can truly understand the heartache a dad feels when his “little girl” has done something like this.

The following day we sat down and discussed in greater details the prior night’s events and set out her punishment which involved  canceling of her greatly anticipated driving test in October and other related penalties.

We have learned that where we choose to focus our mind in times like this makes a huge difference in the healing. I, Bob, spend each day on my drive to work in 20 minutes of prayer. Much of that time is devoted to asking God to keep his hands upon my kids and guide them to make wise decisions during their teenage years and to not succumb to peer pressure.

Despite these prayers, last Friday happened, but much like the father in the parable, what we are taught is to not focus on the wrongdoing, but instead, be thankful that she is safe.

Be thankful that she was pulled aside by security before things got worse.
Be thankful that she was not unconscious and alone.
Be thankful that despite her poor choice, she did not become prey to some teenage boy who could have seen her as an easy opportunity.
Be thankful that we have grown in faith and maturity to a point where we are not bothered by the whispers and pity that will surround us until some other kid screws up.
Be thankful that we have the knowledge and belief that we answer to only ONE.

The fact that our focus can be on these areas rather in a place of darkness, resentment and anger is the truest testament to Gods grace that we could ever convey. Those feelings existed when we heard of the incident, but were quickly overcome.
The other part is the growth of our faith as a family. I pray that this event and the discussions we have had will let our children see first hand that ‘going it alone” is not the answer. This does not mean that placing our faith in God will result in all your prayers being answered. Instead, it gives us hope that everything that happens, all of lifes events, both good and bad are part of God’s plan.

We pray that both kids will continue to grow in their faith and will recognize the comfort that comes from a personal relationship with God. While we certainly do not welcome events like last week and continue to pray each day for the safety of our children, we have peace in knowing that God is there for us every step of the way-

To comfort us, forgive us and guide us. All we have to do is ask…….

Rebecca’s take:

The parable of the prodigal son shows the love a parent has for their child no matter what they do wrong. This relates to me because my parents love me unconditionally even when I make mistakes. I have made many mistakes and sometimes I don’t even apologize for them until later, when I realize what I have done wrong. A lot of people would not be as forgiving as my parents are, but they always forgive me.

Like the son in the story who strays from his family but finds his way back, this is me sometimes when I make mistakes. We all stray from our loved ones sometimes, but they will always welcome us back with open arms.
I think that in the times where I make mistakes, I learn the most. A big part of becoming a better person and closer to God is to do things wrong and learn from them. I believe that everything happens for a reason and that in every mistake I make, there is a chance to become closer to my parents and to God. In the parable, the son becomes more loving to his parents and they do the same for him, after he strays away for a while. Sometimes we need to be in the dark for a while to really appreciate the L I G H T.

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