The two great desires of the human heart seem to be the call to return to what was, the place we came from; the place that formed us, and to go forward into the unknown with all its promise and opportunity.
Returning to my parents’ farm where I grew up for the three weeks of the winter school holidays, has me pondering the desire to come back. I’m here to work on their property with its beef cattle and I’m loving the fresh air and flat expanse of land that makes it easy to catch the sunrise and sunset on the horizon. I’m loving their warm house with the open fire and frequent roast meat and potatoes along with the choc chip cookies fresh out of the oven. All this is creating a longing in me for something intangible and I start to think about how happy I must have been as a teenager to have all this here. Then I remember the exhortation in Ecclesiastes to “Say not, “Why were the former days better than these?”
For it is not from wisdom that you ask this”.
Of course, the truth is that being here as a teenager wasn’t all sunsets and green grass. It was hard.
And, so, my current appreciation for my parents’ home and all its benefits is in fact informed by all the experiences I had away. Being away healed my relationship with my parents, it matured me so that I can think about life in a right and truthful way, it made me appreciate choc chip cookies as my healthy lifestyle means they’re not a big part of my life now, and a huge term of teaching tired me out and made me ready to enjoy a change of scenery, but also ready to continue to work hard in a more physical way.
Those desires to return to go forth are part of life, but it’s wise to think about them in a proper perspective and take heed of the wisdom available in God’s word.