What character are you in the parable of the prodigal son (read it in Luke 15)? I have never really been the "bad boy" who runs away squandering an inheritance and breaking the old man's heart. I will admit that I have been known to whine and complain about always being the faithful and dependable one and never getting a party, but I'm getting over that. However, these past few weeks I have been thinking about the story in a different way. God has been asking me if I would like to play the role of the father.
This means that as a friend and as a spiritual leader, I have to let people walk away if they want to. This means that I have to be willing to give my riches (the things I have worked hard to build in my life) to certain people even though I know they will probably not value them. This means that I spend a lot of time waiting for people to realise they are making bad decisions without pointing it out to them. This means that I don't go chasing people down to make sure they are okay. This means that I do not take responsibility for the spiritual well-being of my friends and family. This means that I let people grow up and make their own mistakes. This means that I really have much less control than I would like to over those that I care about. In fact, I have none. This means that my job description is now boiled down to one thing: love without condition or judgment.
But it also means that when people make decisions, they own those decisions. It means that when people come back to a relationship, they really want to be there. It means that my most persuasive and often silent plea to others is a life spent on loving God. The Father is not asking me to do anything that he hasn't already done.
Here is me looking out my window at our house in St. Lazare a few years ago.