Martin lied to his mom, or so she said, and so, because her 15 year old son lied to her, she threw him out of the house. Told him to go live with his Dad. To teach him a lesson.
It taught him a lesson alright – that his mother didn’t love him enough to forgive him for something that 15 years do all the time. So he lived with his Dad, and he started to drink, and to stay our late at night, and then to not wash his clothes and eventually to not wash himself.
His Dad would sneak into the room of his teenage son who had now dropped out of school so angry was he about authority, and like the most skilled Seal Team member, the father would crawl in on his belly to surreptitiously snatch the filthy clothes off the floor and whisk them to the awaiting washing machine, only to return them to their original place with such stealth and guile that no one was ever the wiser.
Except one day, when Dad was in a meeting, he heard Martin get up early, and go into the laundry room. He heard the machine stop, and then seconds later, he was surprised to see his son outside in the pouring rain. As Dad pretended to listen to his client in the meeting, he was actually watching his son, standing in the downpour in his underwear, dragging the clean clothes through the mud of the garden. The boy then turned and held the once again filthy clothes up over his head, shaking them violently in defiance to his father.
After the client had left, Dad went into his son’s room. Martin had gone out, but across the white walls the boy had dragged the muddy and wet clothes and sludge now dripped slowly down like tears, pooling on the floor at Dad’s feet.
The father worried all day. He didn’t know what to do – this was way beyond his pay scale and training. He had been reading every teenage self-help book available and indeed had a stack of them by his bedside. In an earlier argument, his boy had yelled at him once how embarrassing it was his Dad needed a book to raise his own children, and the Dad had shot back, "I don’t need a book, I need a LIBRARY!”
When his boy came home late that night, his father was up and waiting for him. Dad asked him to come into the living room to talk. The boy, petulant and defiant, sat there as the father searched for what to say.
He rambled for a bit, but then, quite literally, stumbled into this: “You can burn the house down. I’ll just rebuild the house because…I will never stop loving you, and I will never, ever throw you out.”
That’s all the boy needed to hear. That his parent would never throw him out and that nothing was more important than him. Martin started to change almost the next day. He had hit bottom and was coming back now, turning into that sweet child that he had always been, just like all the books said he would. He just needed someone to tell him that they believed in him, and that no matter what they did, they would love him.
And Martin forgave his mother, and in doing so, taught her what real love is.
We all need someone to believe in us. We all need someone who knows our mistakes, and believes in us anyway. This is the true nature of love: always there, always forgiving, and always giving. No matter what.