I have done a fair amount of hiking and bushwhacking on trails and beaches and side roads. I have traversed nearly all the trails in Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula. I have hiked Pictured Rocks National Lake Shore twice and canoed it once as well. The Boundary Waters in northern Minnesota were amazing and by far the grandest adventure I have had is walking the length of Isle Royale in the heart of Lake Superior. As is common in many writings by C.S. Lewis or Tolkien, many adventures begin with the characters going on a ‘walking holiday’ and their stories always become epic events that were unimaginable at the start. While my travels had nowhere near the grandeur and awe of Hobbit’s tales or English philologist’s, I have learned much on my journeys and become a better person because of them.
The one part of the journey that I have always liked the least is the coming home. You, see, this means the end of the adventure and the end of the wonder. It relegates all the mystery and wonder you felt at the beginning to an off-handed been-there-done-that footnote. There is always a kind of let down after an adventure; when all is said and done you are left only with memories that become harder to hold on to as the years turn to chaff in the wind that which was once crisp and clear. How I wish the journey never ended. To be able to hold onto the awe and wonder of the moment you are in would be an amazing thing. Time is indeed a fickle fiend!
All journeys have an end and there is always a long walk home from where we’ve been gallivanting. We have all been out and about, wandering here and there, wasting much of what we’ve been given and spending the rest on foolish fantasies that begin with wonder but always end in disappointment and despair. When all is said and done, the things we are all most longing for when we run away is peace and safety, acceptance and significance. The only place we will every really find it is right where we left it – at home. You see, home really is where our heart is and the real reason we wander away is that often, because of choices we’ve made or events that have happened to us, our hearts become filled with terrible uglies. We feel ashamed and unworthy and convince ourselves there is no going back. If we are focused on the ugliness of where we are and what we have become, we’ll never realize the way home is in the arms the Father waiting right were we left him, ready to make all things new. He’s there…I’ve seen him and gone running to meet Him only to realize he split the distance and met me more than half way. Once I felt His arms around me, I could not imagine why I ever even left. He’s waiting there for you too…he is waiting for all of us…after all – we are all Prodigals.