A story from The Push

When I was in my early twenties, I moved away from my home state of Wisconsin to attend graduate school. I chose to go to the University of Arizona in Tucson and flew to the campus, sight-unseen. Upon landing in early June, I was shocked by the lack of green and the intense desert heat. After less than two days in that environment, I called my parents to question whether I had made the right choice and to announce that I was seriously considering coming home. My father, in a calm and supportive voice, indicated that I always had a choice. I could always come home and be welcome there.

We've discussed this moment several times since. We both knew that I wouldn't come home at the time, it was knowing that I had that option that allowed me to continue. I have been able to venture on to marriage, persevere through several challenging job situations, and endure my wife's severe health concerns during the birth of our only child by knowing that I can always "come home." My father's encouraging words remain with me and I have used the phrase in special situations when others need to know that someone cares and they do have an option.

Whether "home" is earthly, spiritual, or some sense of calm, knowing that we can come "home" if needed can be just enough to help us on our way.

It reminds me, in a way, of the prodigal son who found comfort and love upon returning home. While we don't have to stray and hit bottom in life, it is good to know that we can wander and exhaust life's trials and journeys and yet have some home base where love, support, comfort and calm exists.

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