Lectio Divina is the practice of divine reading where in we read, meditate, contemplate, and orate. We listen for a word, a phrase to contemplate, to live with. In a small group setting a discussion is part of the experience; alone I journal. After an experience in prayer the other night I started thinking about the Prodigal son once again.
Some meme that essentially says, “spare the rod and spoil the child” popped up in my social media feed the other day. In a flash I could see the story of the prodigal son in a different light, one I’ve never noticed before. Most frequently we hear preaching or reflections on the kids, the one who leaves, and the one who says. We don’t know a whole lot about the father, but what we do know is that he Loves his kids. He loves them to the point of a willingness to let them go, and make their own life choices, to be responsible for those choices. And if he loves his kids, he did his best to raise them well, teaching right and wrong, living and working well. The older brother knows and lives the rules. The younger kid knows the rules and seems to do what he wants to anyway. But that father.
The love this parent has for his kids has room within it for heartache. I can’t imagine this father being perfect, however he is a loving parent. He would discipline his children, showing them how to live as rightly as possible. And still, the younger kid essentially declares his dad dead to him, takes his money and runs.
When that prodigal kid leaves the father continues to live his life, living in expectant hope for this kid to return home, watching for him, celebrating his return. This father lives with and loves the kid who stays home, showing the example of how to love and live.
I can’t imagine this father being perfect, however he is a loving parent. He would discipline his children, showing them how to live as rightly as possible. And still, the younger kid essentially declares his dad dead to him, takes his money and runs.
This parent did the right things. He raised his kids. He disciplined them. He trained them, taught them how to work. Even so his younger kid leaves home to go do whatever this kid wanted to do. This dad, this parent watches his child whom he loved, exercise his free-will, declare him dead by taking the inheritance and going off to party it up with his friends. How many hours did this guy spend praying for his child, knowing that the possibility existed that he might not ever see this kid, or even know what happened to him.
This father lives with the kid who follows the rules of life, and secretly harbors envy and jealousy within his being.
Learning to understand Scripture, to live it takes place over time, as we intentionally grow in maturity through our prayer life, reading, and life experience. All of these work together for our growth in holiness, and for faith community, extending further out to our world.
I’ve shared over, and again how learning to free motion quilt is a process. The more mistakes we make and take the opportunity to learn how to fix them the better we will become in this skill we desire. Not only does this take work and the problem solving skills we have, it takes a combination of listening to our inner critic for the things that give us clues to how to improve, and a setting aside of our inner critic when what we’re hearing is an attack our our person for our flaws and failures.
It takes practice and prayer to learn to distinguish between the two. Further it takes reaching out for help when it’s needed. This might be in the form of a class, a question posed on social media, and helping other quilters problem solve by sharing how you worked through a particular/similar free-motion problem.
Over the last several months I’ve been learning new work. In one sense it’s not difficult, and in other ways it is. One thing I know about my own way of learning, and this goes to knowing my self, is that it takes me a little while to know how to ask the questions that will help me move forward in the work. I gotta do a bit before the questions bubble up to the surface. What I’ve also noticed is that sharing a particular situation and getting feedback is much more helpful than asking questions. While the situation might be specific, the feedback ends up being a broader discussion for me giving me the necessary tools for moving forward.
And so I continue to meditate the story of this family in Scripture as there is more to learn; I continue to practice free motion machine quilting, to practice teaching, and speaking and writing and being a good sales rep for the companies and shops I work with. I want to continue practicing at prayer and relationships and being kind and generous.