On the Loss and Return of a Son (Luke 15:11-32)

by Lowell Chilton


 Image Courtesy of Pong / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image Courtesy of Pong / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I had an assignment for school to rewrite the story of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32) with a mother inserted into the story. I decided to accept the anachronism of Julian Calendar dates and wrote a series of diary entries from the mother's perspective.

January 4, 23

Levi asked Zachary for his share of the inheritance today. I tried my best to talk Zachary out of giving it to him and letting him go but Zachary still agreed to give it to him. Fortunately it will take some time to gather the resources and for Levi to get ready to go. 

January 6, 23

The last two days have been two of the worst of my life. I have been weeping most of the time, though always in private. I tried to convince my boy Levi to stay but he is adamant that he must go out into the world. It pains me to feel him rejecting me so! His brother is no help! That Asher is too angry and stubborn to do anything useful to keep him here and is just driving Levi further away. 

January 9, 23

Levi left today. Nothing else to say. 

March 31, 23

I miss Levi more than words can say. My sweet boy has been gone without word for three months! Zachary refuses to send anyone after Levi and there is nary a word from him. Asher is working hard in the fields and holds it in, but I know he is hurting too. 

October 21, 23

Zachary grows more and more remote by the day. Asher has thrown himself into the management of the property. Any word of Levi’s well-being is sorely desired. 

January 9, 24

It’s been a year since Levi left. We still haven’t heard a word about where he went. I would send Bethann and Jerome after him if only I knew the direction to send them. 

July 14, 25 

Cousin Elizabeth came to visit today. She thinks she saw Levi in the market in Tyre (I didn’t ask what she was doing there!) but she isn’t sure. I sent Bethann and Jerome, under the auspices of a trading mission, to look for him. I told them to just observe and come home, to not interact with him in anyway. Zachary has grown very distant with heartache over Levi. There doesn’t seem to be anything I can do to help him. It’s even worse on Asher. He feels his father’s pain and tries to win his affection through working harder and harder. 

December 12, 25

Bethann and Jerome returned today. They found Levi living in an inn. Apparently he has taken up a rather unsavory lifestyle, though I had to cajole them to tell it to me. Surely this can’t last forever, he’ll be out of resources before too long.  

I’ll not say anything of this to Zachary. His heartache has turned to anger and now any mention of Levi causes harsh words. I’m persevering and trying to help him. 

November 19, 26

We heard tale today of a growing famine in the north. I worry ever the more for Levi’s sake as the last word I had of him placed him in Tyre. He is surely hurting by now if he is still there. 

January 9, 27 

It has been 4 years now since Levi left. Asher never brings him up any more, which is good since Zachary refuses to speak of him. His heart is so hardened from the heartache! 

March 15, 27 

Elizabeth came by again. Her son Isaac was up in Tyre selling some grain (no doubt wasting half the profits) and saw Levi slopping pigs. He kept a distance so as to save Levi the shame of being recognized. I’m debating sending Bethann and Jerome to fetch him, but I need to soften Zachary first. I so long for my boy to be home! 

August 31, 27

Zachary seems to be less angry now. I’m continuing to talk to him, but I’m nearing the point where I’m going to call my son home regardless of what Zachary thinks. 

September 12, 27 

I could no longer be patient! Yesterday I sent Bethann and Jerome off to Tyre to try to bring Levi home. 

September 19, 27

O happy day! Bethann and Jerome returned sooner than I expected. They spied Levi on the road heading this way. They kept their distance enough to not be recognized but overheard Levi talking about repenting for sinning against God and Zachary and longing to return home! He’s on his way here. I’ll keep this from Zachary still, but I’ll continue to soften his heart. 

September 21, 27

Levi came home! Finally my boy is back at home in my arms. Zachary threw a big party in celebration, which completely surprised me. Asher however was not as thrilled. His pain at the absence of his brother was so great and his work on the farm so heavy on him that he could not appreciate the celebration of Levi’s returning. Zachary tried remarkably well to set it right, but only time will tell.