My friends and I often fancy ourselves escaping the world and living in the mountains, away from the mess, like the Narnians in Prince Caspian. Bit now I realize our idea of living out in the mountains appeals to us only because it's far away and beyond our reach. Even if I did go hermit, I'd never escape the "mess". I'd still be me, you'd still be you, and we'd have the same human problems we did at the foot of the mountain. We always feel like somewhere besides here is home, after all, there's no place like home, right? But our home isn't anywhere here.
You see, dear reader, there is no such thing as Home.
Our home is not on earth. We try to find it here ("if only I lived in the mountains" or "if only I lived in this time period") but it's just the same in those places too. Really.
Let's stop letting ourselves rot away in your efforts to be sure of everything. The definition of faith is closing your eyes and taking God's hand, trusting He's going to lead you home. And if He doesn't (uh-huh, sure, the Creator of the universe could totally slip up) then it's not your fault.
A while ago, Jared and I were on a backpacking trip. I wish you could have seen it. It was like climbing Scotland's thumb. Deep, craggy mountain spires, thundering waterfalls towering so high they disappear in the misty clouds, moss and lichen clad the rugged stones, great, gnarled oaks, taking showers beneath the fierce waterfalls, glissading down the mountain peak, pulsing through the deepening shadows a cold night abyss, fear, noises in the night, elk, sharp, cold rivers, ice caves, romantic stories.
And this crazy, unquenchable craving.
We found our eyes tracing the rugged landscape of Mt. La Crosse, a 977 foot peak. Having nothing else to do all day, we grabbed a water bottle and a machete and began scaling it.
Everything is bigger than it seems close up. Climbing on our hands and knees and digging our fingernails into the glacial snow, the peak always seemed to be getting farther away the higher we climbed. It was always in sight....yet....always out of reach. And just when we hoisted our weary bodies up the final narrow stone tooth, there it was again, even higher than before.
Always in sight...but always out of reach. Like a starving man in the desert who sees a pool in the distance, but when he arrives he realizes it was just an illusion, the hot sun reflecting the barren sky.
Have you ever read The Little Prince? It's like the most quotable book out there.
"The stars are beautiful," said the little prince, "because of a flower that cannot be seen."
I replied, "Yes, that is so."
"The desert is beautiful," the little prince added.
And that was true. One sits down on a desert sand dune, sees nothing, hears nothing. Yet through the silence something throbs, and gleams...
"What makes the desert beautiful," said the little prince, "is that somewhere it hides a well..."
"Yes," I said to the little prince. "The stars, the desert--what gives them their beauty is something that is invisible!"
In the moonlight I looked at his pale forehead, his locks of hair that trembled in the wind, and I said to myself: "What I see here is nothing but a shell. What's essential is invisible to the eye..."
Always in sight but always out of reach. Our home...it's somewhere beyond the rainbow.
There's just no place like home.