Day 7 – My Departure
"After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings and set off to a distant country."
What motivated the younger son to leave his home, to leave his father?
Believe it or not, either knowingly or unknowingly, we all seek opportunities to leave home, whether it is a physical or a spiritual departure.
A part of us always hopes to explore the outside world. We are in search of something better, something bigger, something more unique and original, something more adventurous and exciting,… It is true that the unexplored territories are oftentimes very appealing. It also symbolizes a freedom that few can resist. This is especially true when we are young. We have the “capital” we call “youth” to spend. If we have a chance and the resources, many opt to leave home to be independent, either for school or for work. At least for an experience, we think to ourselves. We desire to try more things and exhaust all opportunities before we settle down. All these seem to be a part of our human nature and are so ingrained in our culture.
On the surface, we are motivated by our curiosity and our ambition. But we need to be aware of some underlying dangers. As we dig deeper, we might discover something more subtle that is pushing us to do things one way or the other. Attitudes like taking things for granted, being discontent with what we have, resisting to be told what to do, rebelling against authorities, rules and boundaries; desiring to try things out that are not allowed “at home”, and wanting to do things our way,…the list goes on and on.
We may not be aware of the danger of these attitudes but it is something that we need to pay attention to. This kind of self-centeredness often leads to arrogance in how we behave and act, which can be very hurtful to others and harmful to ourselves. This mentality also subjects us to short-sightedness and self-serving blindness, making us an easy prey for temptations, essentially opening doors for Satan to enter into our lives.
Needless to say, egoism is a more serious pandemic infesting this world than any other viruses. As we subconsciously grow our ego, we become increasingly insensitive to others, acting and speaking in ways that “kill” others without our knowing. In the parable of the lost son, we have already experienced the blow to the father’s heart just to hear the sudden demand of his son. Yet, the more serious blow was to see his son putting his words into action!
The younger son left in just a few days, indicating his determination to leave as well as his brutal insensitivity to his father's feelings. He collected every possession that he deemed entitled to and off he went to a distant country. This kind of determination revealed to his father his underlying intention not to come back again; that he desired to have no more relationship with his father. The father knew that he would probably not see his son again ever, nor did he know any way to retain his son. Imagine for a moment that you are the father. Isn't it like a sword piercing your very heart?
What are the things and attitudes that are motivating you to set off for a distant country?
What are the attachments in your life that break your ties with God?
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.