“Do you know how hard it was to come back? Come back through those doors?”
In the story, the one Jesus told about the son who went out on his own to make his way, that son found himself eating garbage. He was eating what pigs wouldn’t eat.
He set out with an inheritance and made fast friends. The kind of friends money will bring. Then the money was gone, the friends were gone, and reality came clearer into focus.
Jobs didn’t come. Maybe he wasn’t prepared. Maybe he didn’t have the schooling needed or he lacked experience. Maybe his expectations were unrealistic. Maybe he felt a little entitled. These are the rationalizations we tell ourselves.
Surely he felt foolish and alone. And here is the crossroad. The choice that looks simple to some but so hard to others.
“It was hard for all of us to come through those doors.” Mike knows, it’s his 3rd or 4th time walking through them. The two men looked hard at the other, you could feel their deep desire for their friend to ‘get it’ this time.
The story is the same and the story is different. The story Jesus told of a young man from a family of wealth and status lured by the grand visions of ego and the world. The lie that he needed no one. He was all he needed to follow this drug of self.
Another, a 50-something alcoholic from a family with a loving wife, his high school sweetheart who’d stood by him relapse after relapse. He was lured by comfort, the lie told in a bottle that promised to soothe his regrets and hurts.
And I ask, what lures me? What is the crossroads I’m looking to? What is yours? Is it the empty fame offered by social media? The number of likes and pins and retweets? Am I lured by comparison? Measuring my inside against another’s outside? Seems that tape measure is always within reach to gauge how I’m doing. Young enough, small enough, good enough?
It’s hard to walk through that door. The door of truth, of hope, of grace. It should be easy, but fear stifles and the lies can be louder than the truth. Or maybe my itching ears are tickled by the lies.
In our bible story, the son “came to his senses”. He came to his senses and went home. He walked through the door of humility and returned home where his father had been watching and waiting all along.
Another made that hard walk through our doors. I hope he stays. Not inside the doors but inside the truth and the truth is this: God, like a good father, has been waiting and watching for our return and he wants us to stay with him. Through the pain, through the regret, through the hurts, through the failures and relapses and not being enough because we never are, but, we don’t have to be. The only thing enough is his grace. His ocean of grace for you and me.