A son once left home against his parents will and went to live in California.
Soon he was out of money, out of friends, out of options. He had hit the bottom, he was at wits ends.
He wrote a letter home to his parents.“Dear Mom and Dad, I'm sorry for what I've done. I don't have any excuse. There's no reason for you to love me or welcome me back home. But I'm at the bottom of the barrel, and if its okay, I would like to come home. I am hoping that you'll take me back. I have been given a ticket for a train, a ticket to get me back home. The train comes past our farm just south of the city. It comes around the bend and right past our farmhouse. If you want me to come home, please put a white towel on the clothesline, out in the back yard near the tracks. If a towel is there, I will know that you want me to come back home. If there is no towel there, I'll know that I shouldn't come back home.”
The young man sent the letter, got on the train, and started out on his trip home. As he came closer to his destination, he became more and more nervous inside and was pacing up and down the center aisle of the train. As the train came closer and closer to his farmhouse, he couldn’t bear it anymore. He said to the man sitting next to him, “Sir, around this next corner, around this bend, there is going to be a farm house on the left. A white house with an old red barn behind it. Its got an old dilapidated fence. There will be a clothesline in the back yard. Would you do me a favor and look and see if there is a white towel hanging on the clothesline? I know it sounds strange, but I can’t bear to look.” The train came closer and closer and it started to go around the bend, and the young man’s heart was racing as fast as it could. The man said, “Well, it looks to me like ... um, yes, look, open your eyes!” When the young man opened his eyes, he looked out the window to see that the whole clothesline was covered with white towels. The barn roof was covered with white sheets, the trees were all covered with white sheets, The old fence was covered with white sheets. There were white towels and sheets everywhere. And in that moment, the young man knew that he was welcome home.