We Are All Prodigals
I have done a fair amount of hiking and bushwhacking on trails and beaches and side roads. I’ve hiked and canoed Pictured Rocks twice, spent some time traversing the Boundary Waters, and walked the length of Isle Royale. My feet have trod countless other trails and ridges in my native Upper Peninsula of Michigan. As is common in many writings by C.S. Lewis or Tolkien, many adventures begin with the characters going on a ‘walking holiday’ and, at least in their stories, end with events that were unimaginable at the start. While my adventures have had nowhere near the grandeur and awe of Hobbit’s tales or English philologist’s musings, I have learned much on my journeys and become a better person because of them.
The one part of the ‘walk’ 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 removes all of the mystery and query and turns it into an off-hand been-there-done-that footnote. I’m being a bit dramatic here but there is always a kind of let down after an adventure; when all is unpacked and put away all you’re left with are the memories. Time then turns what was once crisp and clear into nothing more than chaff in the wind. How I wish the journey never ended.
The fact is, however, all journeys have an end this side of Heaven. Endings are part of our story, just as beginnings. There is always a long walk home from where we’ve been. We have all been wandering here and there, wasting much of what we’ve been given and spending the rest on foolish fantasies that begin with awe and wonder but frequently 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. Truth be told, the only place we will every really find what our hearts are longing for 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 pain and guilt and regret and as long as we are focused on the ugliness that we find inside, we will never see the radiance that once was and could be again. We will never turn back and see the Father at the end of the road waiting with open arms to welcome us home. He is there…I’ve seen him and gone running to meet Him. Once I felt His arms around me I could not imagine why I ever left. He’s waiting there for you too…and the coming home is not really the end of the journey…just a part of the adventure!