This is my Camino. Welcome.

The Prodigal

In my childhood, I was allowed 8 houses from my own,
That driveway the boundary I was to turn ’round when on my tricycle.
Another 8 houses out was a road, not very busy, but busy enough when you’re little.
In this same era, I heard the story of the Prodigal Son.

I always imagined, then, these lines, “…while he was still a long way off…”
To be the distance of the road.
It seemed far to me, as a child.

And, if I really stretched my imagination, “a long way off” was the BP gas station a half-mile away.
A half-mile, after all, is a place where one must strain the eye to make out the form of a figure.
My brain found this reasonable, these 30 years.

And yet, this week, the words came into my mind again– “A long way off.”
Perhaps it was further still.


There is another story, same Bible, of a man centuries prior.
God was going to destroy a city.
And the man pleaded–what if there are fifty people who are righteous in the city? Will you save it then?
And God relents.
And the man talks him down, bit by bit–forty-five? God relents. Thirty? It is permitted. Twenty? God nods. Ten? God agrees.

We were only just meeting God then. But, now we know this about Him:
He is weak for our wounded hearts.


Maybe it wasn’t near the house at all.
Maybe the father “caught sight” through hearsay, curious circumstances, gut feelings, and whispers through town grapevines–the son was seen at the seedy bar at the end of town, drinking again. Maybe the father went there, opened the door, and let light spill into the dark, smoky room.
Maybe the son wasn’t even in the town, yet–maybe he was still only on the very outskirts of Pig-town, kicking dirt while looking at the road.

How far did the father run? How far did the son?

Who sought whom?
What was the percentage of seeking to being found?

In my experience, I’m often still a long, long way off.

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