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STORY: Willing to lose his love to save him

The greatest treasure in Mary's life was her son, Philip. After her husband died, Mary pretty much put all of her effort and investment into loving Philip. So it was the hardest sacrifice in her life to lose his love by how she chose to love him.

"You have to trust me, Philip! I got caught up with that same family and I lost 20 years of my life!" Mary shouted.

"Mom, they're harmless! Just let me live my life!" Philip yelled back as he slammed the front door and stomped down the porch steps. Mary opened her hand. It held his key to her car. He had gotten his license a year ago and she had given him free reign to use her car, until he started hanging out with this crowd.

She walked to Philip's room and opened the Bible that was gathering dust on his dresser. She laid the key on a page in the middle and closed it. She went back out to the kitchen and waited for him.

She had gotten caught up with the kids' parents because she went to High School with them. They were very "cool" people. The greatest efforts in her life had been put towards being loved by people, sometimes people like them. She knew their allure, but now she knew the damage of how these folks lived their lives. It was known in their little town that they still did cocaine in that house, even letting the kids do it sometimes. And there was a party at their house tonight.

She heard Philip stomping back up the wooden deck steps.

She had struggled to leave the lifestyle of those folks, attending years of Narcotics Anonymous and counseling. She had finally broken free when she found out she was pregnant with Philip. But they lost Philip's father to it a couple years later. He got killed in a scuffle over some petty crime to pay for the habit he was trying to beat.

Philip had these similar destructive inclinations in him.

He opened the front door with a fury. "What did you do with my key, Mom? You better tell me!" He got up in her face.

She shook her head slowly.

"Mom! You can't keep me from this party! You better tell me where they are or I'll hate you forever!"

She couldn't fathom that thought. Tears squeezed out of her reddening face. She shook her head. "No, hunny. I love you too much."


That night Philip ended up walking to the party on gravel roads past the dozen fields of crops to get into town. He got there very late, but it wasn't late enough. He started his relationship with drugs that night.

And he effectively ended his relationship with his mom. Whenever she tried to love him, he shut her out. The symbol of his resentment was the key she withheld from him. He aimed his developing guilt and unexamined self-hate at her. She became the bad guy.

That only changed when she died of a failing pancreas 12 years later, probably related to all the drugs she had done in her youth. Before the funeral, Philip picked up the Bible she had given him years ago, to put it with her in the coffin. He meant to close one of her last remaining influences on his life away with her.

The key fell out and bounced on the carpet.

He picked it up, sat on his bed, and looked at it for a long time. He thought about his life. About the people he was meeting up with after, what they were going to do. About why his father was dead, and why now so was she. In these moments he became aware of the uncomparable love his mother had for him.

He whispered, "She had given me the key all along. She knew I would find it when I did the right thing."

That day he walked with the big heavy Bible in his hand down the aisle to the open casket, but it was the key he laid to rest with her. He tucked it away in her hand as he whispered to her, "I finally see it. Your love now holds the key to my heart, momma. I'm so sorry."

He walked the miles back home, knelt by his bed and opened the Bible. As the days and weeks of withdrawal set in, and his heart came back to life, he wept.

And he prayed.

He vomited. He sweat.

He talked to his mom.

He talked to God. He read.

And he came out of that place a different man. He was the son of a mother who had sacrificed her desire to be loved by him, for the love she had for him. And he realized he had a God that does the same.

Raw Spoon, April 2, 2024



These BLOGS are usually inspired by messages I (or friends) feel we have heard from God. This is the nature of our God. Listen for how he may be speaking to you.

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