A year and a half ago, when things were really bad with Luca, and he was running wild in the streets and banging his head against walls and doing other things that I won’t mention, and he was hating me, but also himself, and I thought he might end up dead or I would lose what was left of my mind — I bought a Prayer Box.
An Alanon friend told me that a Prayer Box was a place you put your worries. You wrote them on slips of paper and stuck them in the box and sometimes your prayers would be answered.
So I tried a version of this for Luca. I found this beautiful wooden box with a chalkboard lid and drawers and slots to hold cool stuff. A friend hosted a healing circle for me in a tipi and invited other friends to come and write prayers and wishes for Luca which would then go into the box.
In my previous jet-setty life, if someone had told me I would one day find myself sitting cross-legged in a tipi filled with crystals and dream catchers and puffs of burning sage, reverentially passing around a talking stick and summoning positive mojo to heal my son, I would have scoffed into my martini glass.
But with my jet-setty days long gone, replaced by Nightmare Divorce Years, I was ready to try anything. Which is why I bought a prayer box and asked my friends to join me in a tipi and share their healing wishes for Luca.
People made lovely prayer offerings: poems, letters, talismans. I put all of them inside the box and when I went home I placed the box on top of Luca’s dresser.
Over the past year-and-a-half as we weathered ups and downs at wilderness camp, then his residential treatment facility, I would walk into Luca’s bedroom and stare at the box, stuffed with its good wishes and positive vibes. I would banish the cynicism from the corners of my weary mind, take a deep breath, and close my eyes in a silent prayer.
I prayed that his broken places would be healed.
Later this week I will get on a plane which will take me to Luca’s boarding school for his graduation. After a year and three months, he has completed his program. He has reached the top level and is ready to come home.
I am no Pollyanna. I do not think all has been healed. I know we are in for a new set of challenges when he returns. He will be going from an extremely structured environment back to his parents’ homes, and all bets are off.
But this I know: my son went into the wilderness a broken boy, and has emerged, a year-and-a-half later, a young man.
And because of that, I can say my prayer was answered.