Do you find yourself in another round of the cancel culture? I sure have.
River cruise in Europe next month. Cancelled.
Conference in New Orleans. Cancelled.
Fall social events in LA. Cancelled.
A neighborhood gathering. Cancelled.
I’m having to dig a little deeper to find just a little more patience and fortitude. But now without some whining on the side. And as I am weighing my own feelings of desperation, I am reminded of one of the great stories of despair. The Prodigal Son.
Early on in my writing career, I had a writing mentor in Hollywood who told me that writers tend to write about the same thing over and over and over. She encouraged me to discover which story archetype best embodied my beliefs and build my stories from there. She said it would save me time from trying to re-invent the wheel, and it would always give me a core theme to lean on.
It was genius advice. But at the time, a bit over my novice head. And quite honestly, I was determined that MY storytelling was going to be wholly original.
Of course, it’s not. And, of course, she was right.
It didn’t take me long to realize that the story I tell over and over and over is that of the Prodigal Son. I love this story so much. I’ve told it in many genres: a thriller, a mystery, an historical drama, a children’s book, an inspirational romance. Even after years of noodling on this story, I still find it holds fresh meat for me to chew on…. especially as Covid has left us all reeling…and still reeling! (masks, vaccines, mandates, surges, media wars!)
If you are looking for a better view in light of our brand new world, consider taking a good gander at the parable of the Prodigal Son. The resilience of every family member in this story is noteworthy.
First, there is the older brother, “the good son,” who stays at home with his father. He never rebels like his brother. He does everything right. But he ends up feeling slighted and bitter and left out. Maybe you feel like that brother? You done everything right and along comes Covid and leaves you feeling cheated, alone, left out, and bitter. Before you go sinking into despair, the Father wants you to know, “Hey, I love you. Always have. I’ve been with you this whole the time. And all my blessings are yours. So, go ahead, dig into them. Lean into me and my gifts. See what you can find.”
And then there’s the younger brother, the Prodigal Son. The prideful one who took his inheritance and went out to party for a couple years. He blows everything and crawls back begging for forgiveness. That kind of repentance is steeped in strength and courage!
Maybe you feel more like this Son? Life has given us all some very unfair, downright awful things this past 18 months (and counting!). Maybe you didn’t always have the best attitude or stellar patience through it all? Maybe you lashed out on social media. Yelled at an innocent worker (been shamefully there!) Maybe you’ve been feeing exhausted, frustrated, overwhelmed.
The good news is the same that we hear from the Father of the Prodigal Son who, despite everything his son has put him through says, “My child, I love you. Let’s come together. Join my table and feast! Let me feed you and take on your burdens. You’re not alone. You never were.”
We’ve all endured measures of angst, wondering, worrying, and being frustrated. Victory over all your burdens is reachable! Resilient people never give up. The Prodigal Father didn’t. The Prodigal Son didn’t. And you won’t either!
The Prodigal Son story is God’s love story to us. His faithful endurance and persistence to love us will never end…. even if we’ve been discouraged and down trodden during Covid. He will give us relief from our burdens and sorrows and worries and frustrations…
We can have restoration in our lives. We can find new, and more meaningful ways to live. Not sure how? Just ask. Be open to new answers and new ways of doing things. Stand up for what’s right and true. Most of all, have great courage over fear. Faith will get you there. Join up with others and share each other’s burdens. Believe that the best days are yet ahead. Because they are!