|Photo by Tracee Persiko|
Freedom of Grace
By Tracee Persiko
Being able to talk my way out of things is one of my gifts and curses. I was the student who charmed her way through skipping class, handing in homework late, or getting a teacher off track. Let’s be honest, school got in the way of my social life.
I was also the daughter who negotiated curfews and side stepped punishments. My mom is northern New Jersey to the core. She doesn’t mess around when it comes to the mom voice. I was known for pushing the limits and amending her instructions. Every time I knowingly crossed the parental guidelines I knew the voice was coming, but so were my speeches.
Driving home late past curfew or going to someplace I wasn’t supposed to, I would rehearse a readied speech. She called it disrespect, I called it creative rebuttals.
This is one way I identify with the Prodigal son. The life of responsibility and tending to dad’s farm was getting in the way of his social life. The prodigal packed his bags, and with dad’s inheritance check in hand, he set out in search of meaning. It wasn’t too long before the inheritance dried up and he found himself alone.
When the voices of false advertising grow silent the reality of our spirit of poverty is made known.
When the Prodigal found himself alone with nothing, scripture states that, “he began to be in need.” Sobering truth and awareness was the process for this Prodigal. He had nothing but shame and humility to call friends. The prodigal decided to go home.
Knowing the Prodigal had lost so much of himself, his family, and his life, as he headed home he began to rehearse a speech; “Father, I have sinned against you, I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired hands.”
The father sees his son like a mirage walking down the road, and takes off. He throws his arms around the Prodigal and lavishes him with love, a robe, and celebration of renewed son ship. The Prodigal didn’t even get to finish his speech.
I look at his speech and see how much I rehearse the same one for God. I struggle to know love that is unconditional. I feel like I battle knowing love that doesn’t hold try-outs.
I still have speeches. If I’m being most honest, I still think the father’s love depends on my earned efforts. I will even go so far as to punish myself even when grace and love are extended. Grace is just hard to receive.
I wish I could see a follow-up to the Prodigal story. I wonder if the Prodigal still rehearsed persuasive speeches for the father’s love after that day. I wonder if he still tried to earn love even though his father covered him with grace and forgiveness. Broken relationships take rebuilding, but that does not affect love, or at least it shouldn’t.
Grace is one of those words that I can’t quite wrap my head around. It’s so scandalous in nature. Grace is illogical in response. Grace is a tug of war in my heart. It is what tethers compassion and forgiveness together. However, when grace is understood it is life changing.
I would love to know your thoughts and responses to the Prodigal story.
Do you write speeches for God?