The Boy Who Left Home (And the Daddy Who Couldn’t Stop Missing Him)

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Hopey and I go for a walk in a cornfield. And as we trudge along, stepping between the puddles and bending down to pick up husks of last year’s corn, I’m reminded of a story. So, I tell her one.

Once upon a time there was this daddy and a son. And the son decided that he was tired of living at home. He’d had enough of curfews and family meals and sharing stuff with his brother, so he asked his dad for all his allowance so he could go away and see the world.

His dad, being a good dad that he was, sat down with his boy and had a little chat. “Now son,” he said, “You can have your allowance but I was hoping you’d save up so you could buy your own house or start your own business someday.”

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“Nah, that’s alright,” replied the boy, “I don’t need a house. I just need to get away from here and live a little. I need to see the world.”

So, with that he and his daddy gave each other a big ole’ hug and the boy packed himself some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and took off down the long dusty road for anywhere-but-here.

At first, it was great. The boy had a satchel full of money and sack with enough food and snacks to last him at least a couple days and he had the greatest sense of adventure tucked down into his heart. He felt so free. He didn’t have to take out the trash anymore, or muck the barn or share a single thing with his brother.

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And on top of all that, he could buy some new toys and play with them all day. So, he did. And it was fun. Real fun. For a while.

But, after a while that boy got lonely. And he got bored. So, he found some friends and he bought them toys, too, and they thought he was pretty much the best. Until his money ran out. And all his sandwiches were gone.

And everyday that boy was away, that daddy of his would walk out on the front porch and squint his eyes and peer out to the farthest edges of the field to see if his boy was coming home. And the next day, the daddy would walk out on the porch and do that again. And the next day, he’d do it again, because the daddy couldn’t stop loving his boy. And he couldn’t stop missing his boy. And he couldn’t stop hoping that soon that son of his would just come on home.

Meanwhile, the boy was getting real hungry and somewhat desperate. So, he walked up to a farm and knocked on the barn door and asked this farmer man if he could have a job. That farmer man scratched his head, then he scratched his belly, then he nodded and the boy followed  him out back behind the barn. “Here you go, son. Feed my pigs and I’ll pay you a fair wage.”

So, the boy got busy feedin’ those pigs and his tummy got awfully rumbly so he just went ahead and gnawed on some corn husks. Which weren’t very good. They weren’t very good at all. And suddenly he remembered his momma’s banana pudding and his daddy’s bar-b-q ribs and he just couldn’t take it any longer. He recalled that his brother was kinda nice to play with after all, and he did like being tucked in. And brushing his teeth and taking out the trash weren’t like the worst thing, so he put down that bucket of slop and he headed home.

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And before he even started back, that daddy had gone back out onto that front porch just look’n and squinting and craning his neck to see a sign, any sign of his son. The moment that daddy caught the slightest little glimpse of his moppy haired kid, he jumped off that porch and ran, arms opened wide, fast as he could down the dusty old lane.

And that boy, well he ran too. Right smack-dab into his daddy’s arms.

And you know what? It felt pretty good to be home.

(My own retelling of the Prodigal son. from Luke 15)

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