The following material was prepared by Foma, an Orthodox journal:
One of the main lessons that I have learned in my life happened exactly on my coming of age day.
Before the age of 18, year after year I celebrated my birthday with my parents. But that year something snapped in me, and I told my mom and dad: “Dear parents, because I am growing up I want to celebrate this day with friends, and I ask you…” – here I hesitated. But my parents were smart and kind people. They instantly assured me that everything was fine, celebrating with friends was great, and that they would easily find someplace to go and something to do that evening.
There were a lot of my classmates at my birthday. It was noisy, alcohol kept flowing, someone was singing, someone got sick from drinking – in short, the epitome of college life… I barely remember the details of what happened, the celebration did not leave me with a distinct impression. As the saying goes, we partied hard. And the party broke up after midnight, everyone scattered home as best as they could. I must have collapsed on the couch and instantly fallen asleep…
I vaguely remember when my parents came back and how they literally tiptoed around the room in an attempt not to wake me and removed the “dump” that my friends and I had left behind.
When the family gathered in the morning, I heard only the kindest words from them once again and new birthday wishes, not a single word of displeasure or reproach…
Only after a while I accidentally found out that dad had nowhere to go that evening. All the time while the party was going on, my father, a man of faith (in a few years he would go into the ministry already an elderly man) sat on the bench in the subway for several hours. Right until the stations closed. He sat and read the Gospel…
When I found out about it, something stirred inside of me… It was not just the turning point in relation to my parents – it happened earlier, that very morning. I have never celebrated my birthday without them again!
But what happened that night has become a special lesson for me on the relationship between man and God. It became very clear to me that no matter how much I wandered on my path, like the Prodigal Son, my Father will always be by my side just like my dad was at the station, not for a moment forgetting about me and willing to wait. To wait for me as long as it takes. Until I return.
In memory of the departed Archpriest Georgy Fomin, the father of Archpriest Igor Fomin.
This article was translated by Julia Frolova