Luke 15:24 ” For this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.
If you’re coming late to this party you can read all about how my son Micah went missing. The short story is he walked off his Army base and didn’t contact us for a month. It was the worst month of our lives, not knowing if he was dead or alive, strung out on drugs, or messed up mentally from too many deployments.
When we found him and I said, “What have you been up to?” He replied, “I’m having the time of my life!” Turns out he’d become a bit of a celebrity, making anti-war speeches through the “occupy” movement. When we googled him we could watch the speeches and marvel, who is this articulate young man?
We watched a live feed as Micah tried to turn himself in before the deadline of thirty days. He was turned away because it was too late and the base had no housing. “Come back tomorrow,” they said. We watched as he turned himself in the next day and they sent him away again, “It’s Columbus Day, come back tomorrow.” But the next day he was off occupying something else and stayed gone for four months.
This period was seminal for his development. He learned about living on the streets, sleeping in his car, eating out of trashcans. He went on tour with Occupy the Roads and enjoyed meeting many people. It was seminal in my development too. I learned that as parents of adults, we have no power, and no say. We can only love, pray and hope for the best for our kids. I wrote a lot of blogs about how it was for me during that time. It was rough!
Micah decided to turn himself in after Christmas. He came home and it was a healing time for our family. David and I had a post-Christmas conference so we agreed to take him back to base on the 4th of January. While we were gone, the police arrived at our door to take Micah away. This led to three weeks in the local jail before the army came to claim him.
We were sure he’d be heading for military prison when he returned; he’d been gone four months. But, it turns out the Army wanted no more publicity. He was “chaptered out” as if he were merely AWOL. He left with an “other than honorable” discharge, knocked down in rank to Private and had some extra duty, but was treated very well.
Two months later he was released on his twenty-fifth birthday! When we got the news I had a permanent grin on my face. I called our moms and texted all of my friends who have been with me through this time. I felt like I could breathe for the first time in nine months, maybe five and a half years. He is home and I am grateful. Let the party start!