Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Prodigals and Runaways

Posted by Jack

Tuesday, 3:00 p.m.

Your mother calls me from work. She is angry and upset that she got another call from the school about your behavior. She is more upset that you, her teenage son, hung up on her after saying, “Fuck you.”

After the argument you had on the phone, she suspects that you will try to run away from home. She asks me to drive to the school and find you, to talk to you and try to calm you down.

Txt msg: Where r u?

Reply: I don’t need a ride home

Txt msg: Ok but where r u? On ur way home? I need 2 talk 2 u when u are free to talk

My phone rings immediately.

You don't waste any time at all. You begin cursing and yelling, promising me that you will never go home again. The conversation is long. You make it clear that you are not happy with your mother. I make it clear that you were wrong, that she intends to discipline you, and that the right thing for you to do is stay at home, submit to your mother, and be the man of the house by not running away.

You tell me you don't care what I think, or what she thinks, or what anyone thinks. You say something terrible that rips my heart out.

"Dude, is this how you treat the people you love? That's messed up."

You say nothing.

I can hear you breathing heavily into the phone, so I know that you are walking in the snow. After some negotiations, I convince you to let me give you a ride home. I leave in my car to search for you.

Tuesday, 3:35 p.m.

You climb into my car without saying a word. You're angry, and you know that I am taking you home. No matter how hard I try, you refuse to say a word.

"That's okay," I say, "You don't have to talk. But your ears still work, so you can listen."

I proceed to talk you through the days events... tell you how much I love you... tell you what a huge mistake it is to leave home where you have a mother who loves you and provides for you. It won't be like that on the streets, amidst the other prodigals and runaways.

You say nothing. When you get out of the car, I watch you unlock the door and go into the house. I know you are home right now, but I have my suspicions that you are not done running yet.

Tuesday, 3:49 p.m.

Txt msg: I love you. Please stay at home. Please. Just listen 2 ur mom. She loves u more than u know

(nothing)

Txt msg: I said I love u. I meant it. I don’t lie. Ur mom loves u more. I never give up on u. Dont u give up either

(nothing)

Tuesday, 6:30 p.m.

Txt msg: Please let me know u are safe at home?

Reply: No

Txt msg: Will u tell me where u are?

Reply: No

Txt msg: I love u but I think u are wrong 2 leave home. Be an adult and stay with ur family

(nothing)

Txt msg: Still love u. Always will. Please dont do anything stupid

Reply: Ok

Tuesday, 10:00 p.m.

Txt msg: R u home? Ok?

Reply: No

Txt msg: No ur not at home or no ur not ok?

Reply: Not at home

Txt msg: Have u talked 2 ur mom?

(nothing)

Txt msg: Give me a call if u decide to man up and go home.

Reply: I am a man I just need a break

Txt msg: I trust u to be a man. But dont hurt ur mom by making her worry. Talk 2 u later

Reply: I am a man

Txt msg: I know. U are. Just be sure to act like it.

Reply: I am

I know you well enough to discern the defiance in your replies. You don't like me questioning your maturity. You are convinced that you are able to do whatever you want.

I am older than you, and wiser than you, and I have a better idea of what is best for you. In spite of all that, I am simply unable to change your mind.

It's up to you kiddo.

Wednesday, 12:00 a.m.

Txt msg: Dear god, keep [this kid] safe from danger and help him make wise decisions. Help him and his mom 2 get along. Amen.

(nothing)

Wednesday, 9:00 a.m.

Txt msg: Where r u?

You reply right away, which tells me you are not at school.

Reply: Y

Txt msg: Wondering what happened 2 u, that’s all.

Reply: Well stop

Txt msg: Never stop thinking bout u. But i will stop texting. U call me when ur ready 2 stop

Wednesday, 12:06 p.m.

The fact that you even answered my texts tells me that you want me to look for you... to miss you... to wonder where you are. Pretend all you want; isolation and independence aren't really what you want. Like everyone else, you want to be loved. But when you're eating with the pigs, sometimes it is hard to see past the filth.

I decided hours ago that my contact with you will be minimal unless you call me and want to talk. I can't give you the attention you want... not like this. Then you'll assume that running away will get you what you want.

But, you do know where to find me.

Wednesday, 12:48 p.m.

Nothing, still nothing. It has been around 22 hours since you decided to run away.

I love you to death. But right now, we don't know where you are, or if you are safe, or if you need help. You've joined a world of prodigals and runaways.

The saddest thing about prodigals is not that they are lost; it is that they themselves have chosen to become lost.

And no matter how much their parent, or mentors, or family, or friends love them, they cannot become reconciled unless they themselves decide to turn back.

Wednesday, 1:00 p.m.

I whisper a prayer for the absent.

O God, whose fatherly care reaches the uttermost parts of the earth: We humbly beseech you graciously to behold and bless all those whom we love, now absent from us. Defend them from all dangers of soul and body; and grant that both they and we, drawing nearer to you, may be brought together by your love in the communion of your Holy Spirit and in the fellowship of your saints, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

3 comments:

kevin said...

This is incredible.

derek said...

wow. amen to what kevin said.

Mulberry House: 125 W Mulberry St. Springfield, OH 45506 said...

The text messages in this piece are an actual transcript of a real conversation.

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