He stood in the rain, looking with longing at the door. He knew they would welcome him home, all he had to do was knock, the door would open, and he would be invited in. As the night closed in around him, he watched in quiet despair as each window began to glow with a warm, golden light. The urge to cross the street and walk into the house was so strong he actually took a step before remembering he had left that security of his own volition.
When he was a rebellious and angry youth, he walked away from the love and sanctuary the house represented. He felt stifled and misunderstood. He hated the rules, the consequences, and the smothering love of the people who were in that house. He wanted freedom, a chance to explore the world on his own terms, and he didn’t need anyone protecting him while he did it. He was, after all, autonomous and independent. Despite the pleading of those who professed to love him, he pushed everyone away when he finally broke free and moved on.
He found, as days and, eventually, years went by, that the world wasn’t as wonderful as he thought. Trying all the things he had been warned against, at first, was a thrill. But, it was a thrill with a price and the more he paid, the less thrilling each forbidden act became. In time, he became jaded and lost in the haze of addiction and desperation as he tried to find purpose and value in the life he led.
Loneliness plagued his life. Friends came and went, not one of them willing to make the effort required to be a true friend. It was always good until the next thrill came along, then the friends drifted away like smoke in the wind. Empty days followed by vaguely remembered nights were his standard, eventually evolving into an unending desire for something of value.
One afternoon, he got on the familiar bus that took him by the house. The unintentional act brought back the memory of security and love that he experienced in his younger days. So, there he stood in the dark, pouring rain, staring with yearning at the house of his youth. The door opened and closed as people arrived. Laughter drifted out, and people could be seen in the windows talking together. The desire to be part of that grew with each breath he took. But the shame within him for the way he lived his life created a barrier he couldn’t over come.
As he turned to go back to the bus stop, a man touched his arm and asked if he needed help. He said that he had made a mistake and was leaving. The man recognized him, offered a hand in friendship and asked how he was doing. His heart suddenly broke, and he told the man what had happened in his life, and how he was lost, and unworthy of the love of those in the house before them. The man listened attentively as he slowly drew him across the street and to the door of the house.
He stopped, suddenly confused. He glanced at the man’s face, seeing both a welcoming smile and tears in the man’s eyes. He took a step back, intending to turn away to the bus stop and his lonely life. The man’s caught his arm, turned him toward the warmth and light of the door, and said, “There is the doorway, no one can make you enter, but only you can take the steps to go inside. It is your choice.”
He stood in a pool of light, glanced back into the darkness and rain, and realized it had been his choice all along. He took a step. He was going home.
****Our oldest son was one who wandered his own path. At the age of 21, with a one year old baby at home, he was murdered. Thankfully, he came home after several years of wandering the year he turned 19. In the process of becoming a father, he turned his life around. We deeply miss him every day. Karron****