I tend to exaggerate. Often times I will post a picture and say, “Had an awesome run!” (or something like that) but, when I think about it, awesome should really be a word reserved for describing the Cliffs of Moher or someone who works full time and goes to school at night, while raising a child. The extremely impressive and inspiring.
Sometimes, however, exaggeration it is needed, especially when it comes to forgiveness.
I am the prodigal son. Growing up I was showered with love and care, but despite this, I felt the need to go try to find answers away from my “home.” I have home in quotes because to me it is not only a place, it is a symbol. “Home” is surrender and acceptance. The feeling when you hug someone and let yourself collapse in their arms.
For much of my life I have been trying to figure out who I am.
I have experienced confusion and the need for validation, from friends, from girlfriends, and from myself. I’ve longed for acceptance.
Today, I spent time with my grandma who turns 94 on Tuesday. She is a woman of great faith and conviction. She had a very difficult childhood and endured experiences that would have broken me.
One thing that spending time with her includes, is church.
At mass I couldn’t help but think of the prodigal son, who like Jesus, returns home with new life, to be with his people.
I reflected on what it felt like for the son to experience the hopeful embrace upon returning, the full collapse – surrender and acceptance.
When we returned home, I noticed the door on my parents’ house. The way the light was hitting it highlighted a proper exaggeration, one that sums up this feeling perfectly, céad míle fáilte.
I have found this shelter because of boundless forgiveness. The people in my life who have been there along the way on my road to self-discovery have witnessed many challenges and changes. I still seek validation, I still let things get to me that shouldn’t and I still care what people think about me. But what I now value, above all, is my relationship with God and people who mirror His love. Those who help me return home, with open arms, and a hundred thousand welcomes.