‘Honey,” I said to my wife in that tone I get after binge-watching the Travel Channel. “I think we should move to Denver.”
“And why would we move there?”
“Oh, several reasons,” I said.
“Name a few,” she said.
“Sounds like you forget that we have a daughter in Denver.”
“Sounds like you forgot that she moved to Honduras last month.” She’s always quick with these helpful details.
“Any other reasons?” she asked.
“One of the Denver suburbs made Money magazine’s top place to live in America last year.”
“I take it the magazine makes a new list every year?” she asked. “Are we going to move every year?”
I took sudden interest in my Jack Russell mix and wisely decided to stop talking.
We’ve been married almost 35 years. She recognizes my wanderlust because she knows my history. My pastor dad moved us often during my childhood, and life hasn’t been that much different for us. We had 12 houses in our first 20 years of marriage.
When I left active duty in 2002 and we moved into our Sacramento home, I promised her that we wouldn’t leave until she wanted to move. Still, that promise doesn’t stop me from talking about moving.
The truth is I can often sound like the man Jesus described in his parable about the Prodigal Son.
In the story, the son wants to leave his father’s farm so badly he demanded his father give him his legal inheritance. He told his father he wanted to go anywhere but the place he now was, maybe even Colorado. (OK, Jesus didn’t say that part.)
Despite the fact that the generous and loving father gave the son his rightful inheritance, the boy didn’t make it very far. He took a hotel room in a nearby town and blasted through his money. He became so poor that he was forced to take a job at a pig farm where he often wrestled the pigs for a few bites of their husks.
Like all Jesus’ parables, there came a turning point. Standing knee-high in a pigsty, the Bible says this Jewish boy “came to himself.” He realized even his father’s servants were living better than he. With that realization, the son went to find his father and plead his forgiveness.
Now, here’s the cool part in the parable. Jesus says, “While the son was still far off, the father found him.” It’s cool because the father wasn’t waiting on the front porch rehearsing his lecture like most of us fathers would do. Daddy was searching the highways and actively seeking a reunion with his son.
When he found him, the daddy threw a huge party with tri-tip and a Thanksgiving turkey, or something like that.
Biblical scholars tell me that parables usually make only one point, and here’s what I get out of this one as I think about my own wanderlust.
It’s easy to look for somewhere better to go. What’s hard is seeing the reality of what you have. And what’s harder than that is to make things work where you are.
Still, even harder than that is to return home and say you’ve realized that “here” is really where you’re supposed to be.
The good news is — and I think this is what Mrs. Chaplain was trying to say — that God’s love will still pursue you wherever you go — even to Colorado.