There is a very long story, from a very long time ago that I have rarely shared.
Over ten years ago my first-born son left home to go out on his own. He had met someone on the Internet and became friends with her during his early teen years. When he turned 18 he decided he wanted to move away to be with her.
Perhaps a classic story of the prodigal son. Perhaps something that would have ended up on one of those hyper-active sensational TV talk shows [did I say it was a long story?]. It was painful as my wife and I and the rest of our family watched our son take what seemed a drastic 180 degree turn in his life and leave home with someone who we had never realized existed to that point.
There were a thousand things we wanted to say to him. There still are, though I doubt he’d listen. Yet over time and a highly emotional roller coaster of feelings, he has been out of contact with our family for over 10 years.
In reality there is only one thing to say to him. It was something that struck me the other day [another long story]. It is something I have to believe that my other three children have learned. Perhaps even because of their oldest brother, perhaps just because we had to live it with them again and again.
Be true to yourself. Don’t lie to yourself, but be honest to what you know in your core are the right things to do and be.
Sure, you will make mistakes, you will find yourself doing and saying things that aren’t really part of the inner center you have come to know. But in the end, be true to who you know you are. Use compassion and forgiveness and the awareness that you are part of the human race and God’s plan for it. Make peace with what you are. But don’t sell yourself short. You have the potential to be the person you know you could be. I am not talking about riches, or fame. But be the “person” that defines your spiritual inner self. God will be your guide.
So to my three wonderful kids, I give them this advice. Don’t deny it. Be true to yourself, to who you are.
To my long-lost first son. If there was one thing to say…