We have all heard of or read at some point in our life The Parable of the Lost Son. If by some small chance you have not, here is a brief synopsis. A father has two sons. The younger son asks the father for his portion of his inheritance so that he can go out and live his life. The father did so, reluctantly I’m sure, and off the younger son went to live his life. The younger son spends every dime on wild living. A severe famine hit after the son had spent all of his money so he was forced to take work feeding pigs because he was in need. It had gotten so bad for the son that the parable says that he longed to fill himself with the pods that the pigs were eating but no one would give him anything. At some point the son came to his senses and probably thought what am I doing out here? I don’t need to be out here. My daddy is wealthy. I’ll go home where I belong and off he went. The father was so happy that his son had returned home that he threw a big welcome home party just for him.
I was not exactly the lost son. I did not have an inheritance that I squandered on wild living. But I was out there…..living wildly. Out there doing whatever I wanted to do. Like the lost son, I was enjoying myself. To say otherwise would be a lie. And I was not ready to stop having the fun that I was having. I was not ready to give any of it up to follow Jesus. That, however, did not stop my beloved mother and my dearest sister friend from dropping little nuggets from time to time. My mother more so than my friend. But mothers always go hard for their children. At least my mother did.
I recall one Sunday morning attending service with my mother. It was one of those rare moments that I said yes. My mother attended a Baptist church in Baltimore Maryland and while I was not a regular churchgoer, I always enjoyed service. And this Sunday was no different. The service was very nice. The choir sang beautifully. I always enjoyed hearing the choir. The handclapping, foot tapping, songs really energized the congregants and set the mood for the pastor to deliver his sermon. It was a very moving service and my mother was happier than a kid on Christmas Day to have me at service with her. And then it happened.
The pastor opened the doors of the church to receive those persons who wanted to give their life to Christ and my mother went hard in my ear. Not hard in a beat me over the head with the bible kind of hard. But she did say, “baby, mommy loves you and mommy wants us to be together forever. And God wants you to get right with him. And this is a great day to do just that.” I sat there and smiled and listened as I always did, waiting for the moment where I would reply and say, “I’m not ready mommy.” But, that moment did not come; at least not right away. You see, on the other side of me sat a woman who was probably concerned about my salvation as well. Although, in my untamed mind, she was being nosey and overstepped her boundary. But she decided to chime in and tell me to listen to my mother (as though I were not) because she only wants what is best for me and tomorrow is not promised. Before I realized it I turned to her and politely said with my untamed tongue, I’m sorry, this conversation is between my mother and I. Thank you.” Then I turned to my mother and said, “I’m not ready yet.”
I was a piece of work. On top of living wildly…..reckless is probably a better adjective, I had an attitude problem. I could be very mean and hateful and often times said whatever I thought. Did not matter to whom, or how or what I said; many fell victim and I did not care.
One day my mother witnessed me unleashing my anger on someone. There was an incident involving my brother that my mother and I were trying to get to the bottom of. For his safety we felt it best that he come stay at our home until the situation was resolved. His girlfriend at that time became angry that we were making him come home with us. She believed it was only because we did not like her. That was true but our concern was his safety at the moment. My mother and I decided to sit in the car while my brother packed a bag. My brother was taking a very long time. I was already tired and not at all happy that I was spending my Friday night dealing with this. And the longer we sat there, the angrier I became. So I decided to go back into the house and hurry him along. It was then that an argument between his girlfriend and I ensued. The exchange of words became so heated that the girlfriends sister became nervous and ran out to get my mother, unbeknownst to me. Sadly, my mother walked in at the exact moment I went from Shannon to Sharon (my alter ego).
This was me. Accept me or not. It didn’t matter to me. I was good. It was everyone else. If they did not cross me they would not need to meet Sharon. I was fine. I did not need to be fixed.