Leaving home is, then, much more than an historical event bound to time and place. It is a denial of the spiritual reality that I belong to God with every part of my being, that God holds me safe in an eternal embrace, that I am indeed carved in the palms of God's hands and hidden in their shadows. Leaving home means ignoring the truth that God has "fashioned me in secret, moulded me in the depths of the earth and knitted me together in my mother's womb." Leaving home is living as though I do not yet have a home and must look far and wide to find one.
It is easy for us to think, "Well, I can't identify with the prodigal son, because I never did that." But we need to think beyond the external facts. Consider Nouwen's verbs:
- denial of the spiritual reality that I belong to God
- ignoring the truth that God has created me
- living as though I have no home and must look for another
Which of us can say these aren't daily struggles? The battle is great and constant. God have mercy!