My parents totally knew when I got my first speeding ticket. I didn't call them for an entire week. I was a freshman in college and I had literally, 12 hours before, mouthed off to my dad about how I don't speed and I would never get a ticket driving back and forth from college.
I am still pretty convinced he called in a favor with a state trooper. What are the odds? I tried to hide it from him for days.
When I was seven years old me and my sister Melissa took our incredibly delicious strawberry flavored Flinstone vitamins, hid behind our toy chest, and between the two of us devoured about 100 vitamins. It was thanksgiving. My mom was cooking. We were hiding. And then...we were throwing up, loads and loads of pink vitamins. The turkey burned. We ruined thanksgiving. And my mom got to call the poison control center for the first time. We thought it was amazing. She didn't. Punished and sick and scared of mom, with pink residue all over our faces, we hid the rest of the day.
Me and Melissa got in a fight once. A really bad fight. I threw a cooking pot at her across the kitchen, and she kicked a hole in her bedroom wall. This is not a good way to fight. Still, there is no better way to bond than avoiding trouble. We spent most of the day trying to hide what we messed up.
You get the point. Hiding.
When we mess up or do something we are ashamed of, we hide. We hide from people. We hide from friends. Family. God. Ministers. Co-workers. I would even hide from my cat growing up, convinced that she too knew how bad I was screwing up and was probably judging. You know how cats are.
I hurt a boy my freshman year in college. I selfishly led him on. He called me out on it and ever since then I have been avoiding him. My best friend from high school, Brandi, accidentally met him the other day as he was her mother's "hot" doctor at the hospital. They found out they both knew me and she called so excited...but I was just mortified, I have shamefully been avoiding this incredibly smart, kind guy for years. Note to self...don't send me to Methodist Central.
Hiding. Unfortunately, when I mess up I am pretty good at it. I can disappear.
It all goes back to the whole Adam and Eve thing. They screw up, then they realize they are dirty and tainted and NAKED, they get some fig leaves, and they hide.
The song, Stickin with You, is about hiding. Or trying to hide. And it is from the perspective of a friend who says, "Look, I know you messed up. I know you are trying to hide from me now because you feel guilty. I know you want to detach. Go it alone. Live your own way and suffer from your own consequences. Try to make it by yourself...but I will not leave you. You cannot hide from me. I am sticking with you no matter what."
Tough love. Passionate love. Deep commitment.
I love all the parables about the father not leaving the "lost" child. The prodigal son. The lost coin. The lost sheep. Because the truth is, when we are lost we sort of want to be lost. We want to be the prodigal son. We want to leave home and live our own way and do our own thing, even if it is ruining us. We are like sheep. Stupid.
I like that Jesus says, even though you are like sheep (stupid), I will still leave the 99 animals just to come find you, my one lost child. I love that the Father stands on the road waiting for his son, (who had basically told him he wished he were dead so he could have his money) to come home. Looking. Day after day. Morning to night, waiting. Hoping.
Jesus really didn't give up on people.
You would be surprised how much forgiveness, love, and grace he possesses.
Sticking by someones side when they are "lost" and worse, when they want to be lost, is hard. Heart wrenching. Angering. Frustrating. Painful. It is sticky and hard and emotional and it takes effort to go into the trenches with people and refuse to let them go. But I want people in my life who will say...whether you want me around or not, whether you have screwed up or not...I am here, and I don't plan on going anywhere.
I have been blessed to have a dad that has always said that. As a girl, I always knew my mom would be there, but something about having your dad say, "No matter what you do or where you go or how badly you mess up, I still love you no matter what." And he means it, I know, because I have tested it.
I meet a lot of students who feel like their friends are going off the deep end and changing. They wonder what to do. I meet a lot of broken parents whose kids are much like the prodigal son, and they are trying to figure out how to love them and what to say in the face of their kids blatant severing of the relationship. Wow. What a hard place to be in.
I think the first thing you do is say...look I love you, and I am sticking with you...no matter what. Even if you hate me for it right now...tough luck. I signed on to be with you through thick and thin...."so if I have to jump, then I'll jump"...and I won't even look down.
You get the point...we were called to stick by one another. For better or worse.