I write songs as acts of meditation. They are not really for anyone other than me but if I like what I have when I’m done, I will share them. About twenty years ago I wrote a song from the perspective of a prodigal son who is returning home not knowing if he will be accepted or not. That is actually the perspective the prodigal son had in Jesus’ famous parable because he did not know how things would turn out.
In my version, the prodigal finances his trip by selling off items that he stole from his mother’s jewelry box. In other words, he used his parents’ resources to run away from them. That is how all of us distinguish ourselves and discover who we are. All independence is parasitic on an original state of dependence. Despite this necessarily parasitic nature of self discovery, many of us, myself included, feel a sense of guilt because we used the resources of those who nurtured us to move away from those same nurturers. In my song this guilt is represented as a backpack that gets increasingly heavy despite the fact that its freight, the stolen jewelry, has been sold off leaving the pack essentially empty.
I don’t think I should feel guilty. I would not have it any other way. My hope for my own children is that I have given them enough (they don’t have to steal it) that they can move in their own direction. They can spend the resources they have received from me to establish themselves apart from me. Not that I expect it to be easy to let them go. I know it will be painful. I also know that growing up and self-differentiating are painful processes, but it is a necessary pain. The fact that it is necessary means that we should not feel guilty about it. The fact that we do anyway is one of our noblest characteristics.
Anyway, here is the song: