Question: Where am I going?
Fear: I am stuck or trapped.
We tend to think of the “fall” in a negative way, that it is the cause of humanity’s problems. And I’m not trying to change your mind about that. But for a moment, consider seeing it in a more positive light. Specifically, as I mention in the book, as the “great letting go.” This is close to Irenaeus’s view, who described that leaving Eden was (and is) a necessary part of life designed to help us mature and grow up. It’s a spiritual coming of age story. Because whether or not you agree with Irenaeus in the big theological picture, on a smaller scale there are many people who have to depart a safe existence and walk into the unknown in order to grow up. There has to be a free fall, or a pit, or a rock bottom, before one is able to let go of the things that hold one back from becoming what one was meant to be. There are some lessons one cannot learn at home. Whether we like it or not, we have to leave and experience being let go. We have to stand at the threshold and take the first step, and then the next, and then the next, until we are far from home.
It’s only there, as Dorothy discovered in The Wizard of Oz, that we can come to the realization that there really is no place like home.
Henri Nouwen, The Return of the Prodigal Son
Palmer, Sherrard, and Ware (translators) Philokalia: The Eastern Christian Spiritual Texts