Sandy and I saw Colm’s signature performance as Jean Valjean in Les Misérables on Broadway for our 10th wedding anniversary in 1993. Our little boy would have been three years old at the time, and – we would never have guessed that this, one of Les Mis’s most-beloved ballads – would have deeper meaning for us by the time our little boy had become a man of 24 – just last year.

The song’s story is that Valjean has taken young Cosette into his care as a promise to Fantine, the child’s prostitute mother, now deceased. When Cosette grows into young womanhood, she falls for the handsome rebel, Marius. Valjean is unsuccessful in his attempts to keep the two separate and, in time, develops a fatherly love for Marius.

Bring Him Home is the prayer of Valjean, sung over the sleeping Marius who insists on fighting with the rebel army at the barricade. Valjean knows they are outmanned and outgunned and the battle will result in great loss. He begs God to spare Cosette’s young man – and his ‘son’ – offering himself to die, if necessary, in the place of Marius.

Its a ‘box of tissue’ type of ballad, emoting on multiple planes. For my wife and me, it bespeaks of our labor and loss with our only child, Graham.

A week before Christmas last year, Graham lost in his battle with his mean world but gained in the end, beating devil and damnation by the grace of God, and entered the bliss of his heavenly home. On the very day we were finding air fares for his imminent Christmas visit, we learned of his unnatural demise, and by the end of the same day, Sandy was touching down in the Twin Cities of Minnesota.

When the medical examiner finished his investigation and released Graham’s body, Sandy would not arrange for her return flight until she knew her boy was in flight and en route to his final resting place in Georgia. There was no way in God’s creation she was going to leave him behind!

Our son had spent the remaining months of his life with his biological family, but his ‘home’ was with us and the full life he had forged in Georgia. While his Minnesota family was gracious in their agreement with the arrangements, as we knew they would be, it was indelibly important to us…that we bring him home.

In the years God gave us with Graham – good and bad – our prayer, like Valjean’s for Marius, was always and ever that His grace would bring our child Home. Graham ran as far and fast as he could in the other direction at times, but in the end, hidden beneath tattoos and wounds and scars and self-hatred, was a soft place where God lived and latched onto our boy. And, because of it, our prayer was answered.

God brought him Home.

God on high
Hear my prayer
In my need
You have always been there.

He is young
He’s afraid
Let him rest
Heaven blessed.
Bring him home
Bring him home
Bring him home.

He’s like the son I might have known
If God had granted me a son;
The summers die
One by one,
How soon they fly
On and on
And I am old
And will be gone.

Bring him peace
Bring him joy
He is young,
He is only a boy.

You can take,
You can give
Let him be
Let him live.

If I die, let me die
Let him live, bring him home
Bring him home
Bring him home.

Post Author: Pasturescott

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