Chuck Ponders the Prodigal Son

 

All of this got distilled into a couple of sentences in the final draft.

Chuck shifted in the pew, crossing his legs. He could tell that Jack wasn’t listening to anything going on in the service. Of course, he wasn’t doing much better. He did hear Glen give the Scripture reference for his sermon, Luke chapter sixteen, the rich man and Lazarus. Across the page, though, in chapter fifteen was the story of the prodigal son. Chuck began to read through the story carefully, and in the white spaces of the church bulletin, he began to make notes. The son left because he was tired of living under his father’s authority. The father, however, let him go, didn’t plead with him to stay, didn’t make any promises to change. The father never went searching for the boy, either. As much as he longed for his son to come home, he simply waited.

Chuck wasn’t so sure he could follow that example. He was even less sure he could get Bobbi to go along with it. Then there was the older brother in the story. He was less than gracious when the prodigal returned. Would Jack be that way? Or, perhaps more detrimental, would he see it as giving Shannon a break because she was the ‘legitimate’ child?

The one part of the story he could clearly identify with was the clean slate the son received when he returned. The father welcomed him with open arms, restored him to his position in the family and never brought up those missing months or the events that precipitated them. He would be more than willing to do all that if Shannon would just come home.

When the service was over and the dismissal prayer offered, Chuck turned to his son. “I’m going to talk to Glen for a minute. Are you going to hang around or head home?”

“I’ve got something I need to do, and then I’ll be home.”

Jack turned to leave, but Chuck called to him. “Jack, I love you. You know that, don’t you?”

“Yeah,” Jack said, nodding slightly. “I love you, too. See you at home.”