Much of my life has been spent trying to talk to God.

As a boy I used to sit on my bed and pray with my father. We said the Lord’s prayer from Mathew every night, side by side on my bed. And after that, my father tucked me in and turned off the light and I fell to praying my own prayers. I had a rhythm to it, a mental list that I went through every night. I prayed for family and friends first, before myself, so that God didn’t think I was selfish. Then I prayed at length for every little thing I worried about, or might worry about, and then I prayed for the whole world. Most nights I couldn’t fall asleep until I had gone through the whole list.

Sometimes I pulled the covers over my head and started reading my bible with a flashlight so that my parents didn’t know I was still up. One of those times I read the story of Adam and how God formed him from earth and breathed life into him, of how he was given dominion over all the creatures on the earth, and how he walked in the garden in close communion with God. To me, this was unimaginable. To walk and talk with a being that could separate light from dark by speaking, who could create the earth and humans by the words that came out of his mouth. To be known by God and called good, to have a companion created just for me so that I might not be alone. But then something terrible happened. Adam was thrown out of the garden, a cursed man, cursed to sin, cursed to die.

And that curse had been passed on to me. I had been thrown out of the garden with Adam, thrown out of the home that I had been created for, thrown out of the life I was supposed to be living. Perhaps it was then, only a young boy in grade school, that I began to have something to hide. I hid my nakedness just like Adam did. That is why I adopted the conquest principle and attempted to cover up my nakedness with the armor of accolade and accomplishment. Worse, I began to fear that what I had to hide would keep me from the female created just for me. So I did like Adam did, I covered my nakedness and hid. This is what I did with the small black haired girl in Love Puppy. I hid my true self with what I thought were more acceptable, more becoming traits.

And that is how I got far from the garden, far from who I was created to be, lost on a long road far from home.

* * *

Remember the longing I spoke of in Love Puppy, that desire that lives so deep within us? We know it is not a mind thing. If it was, we could understand it, or control it, think it out and satisfy it. No. It is a spirit longing.

A lot of you know what I am talking about. It is a longing that overcomes us at odd times, sometimes when we are in a quiet moment, sometimes when we are on a crowded subway, sometimes when we are making love to the person we love. In Surprised by Joy, C.S. Lewis called it a “spiritual lust; and like the lust of the body, it has the fatal power of making everything else in the world seem uninteresting while it lasts.” It is the longing to go home, to get back to being the person we were created to be, a desire to return to the place where we have no fear, no doubts, no sickness, and death is not a terminal thing.

We try to fill this longing with all sorts of things: companionship, love, sex, money, fame, drugs, alcohol, work and a multitude of other things. I have tried more than a few myself and all I got were addictions. The satisfaction of these things lasts for a moment, but the longing always returns. And then you try a little more, and a little more, each time sinking deeper and deeper into the well. You see, you never get back to the top. The lows are lower each time, the highs not quite as high. It’s why so many sex addicts and drug addicts go over the top or overdose in the end, or why so many people are burned out by work, or wonder why that relationship didn’t work.

And still the longing is there, because we haven’t quite realized what the longing is for. And until we do, we will never be able to come home.

* * *

We are all prodigal sons.

Sometimes coming home is just remembering where you live and then going there. Soon enough the old things will start to feel familiar again, the old habits will become yours again and it will feel like you never left.

In some ways, I think that is what life is about. It is about finding a way back to who we were created to be, walkers and talkers in close communion with God. And I would hazard a guess that getting there is remembering or learning who we were before we let shame and lack of self confidence and the passions of this world pull us away.

For me, the journey is remembering the boy who talked to God, who stole looks at his bible beneath the covers when he should have been sleeping, desiring to walk once more in the garden (desiring to learn about the God who created me, the very reason we were in the garden in the first place). I have stopped running from the gift that burns within me, longing to be used, the very gift that God spoke within me when he knit me in my mother’s womb. I am started in the right direction and sometimes I can almost see the familiar, joyous trappings of home.

I am not sure if I will ever get home before I die, because I think dying is going to be part of the getting home, to the one true home that I left so long ago when I entered this world and began learning what it was I was supposed to learn by coming here. But at least I understand my longing, my desire.

And the unique thing about desire is that it demands satisfaction.

© Seth Crossman