Imagine saying the words that the Prodigal Son utters to his Father? I can’t imagine doing something so awful that I would be afraid to go to my father and ask him for help. I’m sure I disappointed him sometimes, but my Dad was smart enough to know that I needed to make my own mistakes. Instead of having me live in fear of him, he’d challenge me to do better and would rejoice in any great achievements I completed. Even recently at his 60th Anniversary with my mom, he got up and bragged about me as a “dignitary.” Not because of this blog, or my book, or even Busted Halo or Campus Ministry. He pointed out that I was one of the first anchors on our local Cable Yonkers news channel.
I laughed. The show used a homemade teleprompter with pulleys and spools. I looked nervous and didn’t pronounce my “L’s.” Of all the things that he could’ve picked, he picked one of the things that I’m least proud of.
Then it hit me. That station represented home. Yonkers. Honestly it’s a place I’m not all that attracted to. While their schools trained me well, much of that was my parents and sister instilling in me good habits and pushing me. It was the start of a broadcasting career that would never quite take off in the way I wanted to, until podcasting came along.
And yet, being “on the air” at home was something my dad really valued. Local stories, local angles,
Tim Russert used to talk about how he’d be reading complicated stories so people like his own dad could understand. Buffalo’s native son seemed proud of home and proud of family.
While I’ve traversed a far in my career and exceeded much of my own father’s expectations, I know in my heart that home is a place that I can always return to. I’m looking forward to the Christmas holidays this year a bit more than ever before. I don’t see my parents as much anymore and I’m honestly really bad about calling them to check in. Each time I go home I indeed feel like the prodigal son…
“I know I’ve been out of touch. And now here I am. Your messy son who couldn’t even call.”
It’s dad who always rejoices at seeing me. He runs to embrace me and I always feel his warmth and love when I enter his home.
I truly don’t deserve the man. Nobody does. He’s cared for a sick wife now for over 35 years and has been married to her for 60 long and happy years. One of his friends at his anniversary party claimed that “If Mike didn’t have bad luck he’d have no luck at all.”
I disagree. My dad is a man who doesn’t need good or bad luck. He doesn’t need that because he has faith. God is always on the other side of tragedy and pain. My dad has always found him. And when he does he kills the fatted calf and rejoices.
That’s a life that I love celebrating. And it is more than enough.
I’m off to call my dad. Think about calling yours.