Archive for December 16th, 2009

No, I am not referring to this. Now, this may be a little closer to what I am getting at. But what I really want to write about is rebirthing in terms of “redemption.”

Why? Well, I was watching the replay of Oprah’s two-part interview with Whitney Houston last night. But really any “come back” story (I liked how Oprah said “come through” as opposed to come back) seems to have a similar public reception. With only a very few exceptions, no matter how far someone has “fallen” as long as they return speaking the proper redemptive themes, they are almost always welcomed back with open arms.

Why are most individuals riveted by a compelling redemption story? I don’t know exactly. But I know why I am… because rebirthing, grace, forgiveness … redemption — all instill an indomitable hope!

What is my favorite such story? Robert Downey, Jr., Mikey Rourke, Whitney Houston? No.

My favorite is about a young man who was getting ready to turn 18. He had spring fever, “senioritis” … you name it! He went to his dad one day and said something like: “Dad, I’m 18  and I am pretty much done with my senior year. I really want to get out there and start experiencing real life!” His dad encouraged him to stay and finish his senior year at school and maybe even work over the summer and save for college. But the son could not be convinced. He said, “come on Dad, I know you saved for my college all these years, but college isn’t going to teach me all that I could learn if I just get out of here and live!” Reluctantly, the father gave the son his nest egg and wished him well. The son went his way.

The son rented a bachelor pad to entertain the many women he met, went to dance clubs, parties, denied himself nothing. He was everybody’s friend, and everyone loved to see him coming! This went on for years, as his father had saved enough for full 4 year college attendance.

Eventually, as was bound to happen, this young man’s resources ran completely out. And just his luck, recession hit. There were no jobs to be found — except at the zoo — cleaning the animal cages. As he was hosing the dung into the corner to be cleaned up, he thought to himself: “even my dad’s employees have it better than this! I have got to get out of here and just hope my Dad might take me back.”

What this son didn’t know was that every day during the previous several years, the father kept his eyes strained at the horizon… tirelessly hoping that his son may come back one day. Well, this was his lucky day! Long before the son could see his father’s house, his dad spotted him and dropped what he was doing and ran to his boy! They were at last reunited — that son truly was redeemed by his father.

How many of us would be like that father? How many of us would even expect that reaction? The more typical reaction (I have seen played out in the real world) is the “arms crossed, I-told-you-so, don’t do it again” reception. Or if not that, the individual coming back (or coming through) must speak and exhibit “works meet for repentance” before they are fully welcomed back.

Those are exactly the reasons that the above father and son story is my favorite “come back” story. I think my thought train may have taken a different track than I intended at the beginning of this post, but I think I still expressed the essence of what I was thinking about today.

“Never cease loving a person, and never give up hope for him, for even the prodigal son who had fallen most low, could still be saved; the bitterest enemy and also he who was your friend could again be your friend; love that has grown cold can kindle” Kierkegaard

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