An Open Letter to My Wayward Child :: By Jim Towers 

My Dear child,

I did everything I could as a parent to let you know how much I love you and care about your wellbeing – yet today you treat me like a stranger. I know things weren’t always perfect, and I might have been a better parent. I might add – that you never saw me use drugs, strong drink or even use vulgarity. On top of that, I was an even-tempered person given to good works – as you well know. Where did I go wrong?

There was a time (as a baby) when you had reoccurring colic, and I would get up in the middle of the night to take you for a ride in our car, along with your puppy dog. We would park on the bluff overlooking the bay with the full moon overhead, listening to love songs on the radio. Soon the music would lull you back to sleep and we headed back home in the dark.

At three we went riding together on my bike, just you and me; I even made you a little seat so you could ride in front of me. We sang songs like “Chiquitita” by Abba while we rode together. Do you remember the red fire truck bed I made for you? The one in which you slept as a toddler with your puppy “Cotton” curled up at your feet.

We bought you a piano that you’d play all the time – even in the early morning while still in your little white underwear. You had a piano recital at the age of four. The tune was “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” I was excited and clapped until my hands hurt. You and my other children were my delight and reason for being.

You were growing up fast. I taught you the important things in life like fishing and baseball and climbing in trees. As a child we took you to church; you even learned Bible verses and won some awards. But life’s demands and distractions led your mom and I to divorce. Irreconcilable differences was the Christian marriage counselor’s decree after several sessions, and so your mother divorced me.

The breakup couldn’t keep me away. I’d visit you daily and wrestle and play. I’d take you to school sometimes on my back – just for fun. Sometimes we’d skip along or run, and we always found time for fun. Remember the time you hunted for treasure from an old map I found? Well, it was me who created that pirate map when you weren’t around. Then there was the time when a white dove mysteriously landed at your feet, and you tried to catch it to see if it was hurt. The bird recovered and eventually flew away… it seems like yesterday. Then there was the time you fell from the tree house that I built in the mango tree alongside the house, not to speak of the initial adverse reaction you had from that very same tree.

As time wore on, I taught you to swim. You grew fearless in water and took to it like a duck…No, make that a fish; soon you could swim even better than your dad. We’d snorkel around the rocks in a cove by the bay. I gave the round outcroppings names like the “turtles” and “hippos” where we’d often spend the day. The water was shallow and clear with minnows and colorful fish and various things like sea shells to add to our collection. We even had a saltwater tank with all kinds of creatures. Do you remember that?

We and your younger brother would sit on the swings in the park in the evening, singing songs and drinking soda. We’d go to the movies – “Gandhi” was one of the first; then came “Rocky” 2, 3, and four.” What a great time we had! I couldn’t want for more.

You boys took up surfing, and I would watch from the beach, holding my breath as you swam out into the deep. There was the time on your very first job as a teen as a bagboy at the local supermarket, but soon you heard the call “surfs up” and headed for the beach. That job didn’t last long. I never said anything because I have that same propensity.

You were growing up fast, and soon you were working at the framing store with a pressed white shirt and tie. You were the best they ever had with artistic talent and clear discerning eyes. You even began painting pictures yourself. That’s when I noticed that you had a creative mind, and I knew that you could achieve anything your heart desired. You had a sharp, creative and quick mind.

Soon you were off to college in a school up north with an art scholarship at a prestigious school. During spring break, you and I would travel about exploring this hemisphere. I remember the Jaguar jungle trip where you killed a big poisonous snake that stood defiantly in our path ready to strike. One baseball- sized rock and your perfect aim was all it took for you to put him away.

Remember Honduras and the tiny island in the sea where we fished while a huge crocodile –that I thought was a log – swam just feet away from us as we fished in the surf. Man, did we have adventure!

As time went on, you continued to grow; and like it or not, we had some of the very same traits. Then something happened after four years at university. I held my breath and prayed every day you were away. You became cynical about your faith and gradually let it slip away. You knew right from wrong, but life and (I suspect) your professors turned your head; and now you know more about life than your very experienced father. You were a scholar.

Now, twenty-some years later, I have a grandson with a shock of blond hair and clear blue eyes. You drifted from your childhood faith even as I continued to grow in mine. When we are together and taking a meal, I say grace, and you and yours only sit there with a blank look on your faces. As if that weren’t enough, my young grandson says that God and the Bible aren’t true at the dinner table. At seven years old he knows everything – much like you. Please don’t let him forfeit the endless benefits of knowing Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father.

I’m hoping God will quicken your mind because I don’t want to be raptured and have to leave you behind. It breaks my heart to see you uptight with angst and guilt while I get a good night’s sleep each and every night – with a clear conscience toward God.

Please repent and seek God in the face of Christ Jesus, while He may yet be found.

Love Dad.