Wise people have observed that we spend the first half of life living out the Parable of the Talents (Matt 25:14–30), investing our time, talent and treasures in hopes of yielding a satisfying return that benefits ourselves and the greater good. This is largely an outward project of the Ego, as we try to prove our worth and find our place in the world by constructing a False Self to try to get what we’re searching for and avoid what we’re most afraid of.

The second half of life, however, is living out the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11–32) as we (hopefully) begin the journey home to the Father’s love and our True self. The invitation of the “midlife passage” is waking up to our True Self hiding behind all the masks and projections of the Ego. Like the prodigal son, coming home to face the Father (and our inner demons and inner critic) in all our naked vulnerability and long portfolio of failures, is a risk-filled endeavor. What kind of welcome will we receive when we stand exposed on the front porch, covered in the mud of the first half of life?

The good news offered by the Christian faith is that the One waiting for us at the end of this long and often painful journey is the Face of Love and unconditional acceptance. Tears well up in His compassionate eyes. His arms reach out to embrace. His words are void of any shred of guilt or shame. All you hear is, “Welcome home, Son. Welcome home, daughter. I’ve been waiting for this moment with great joy.”

Friends, I’m not just talking about arriving home at the Final Destination in the hereafter. I’m talking about the journey you can begin today. Even this very hour you can begin stripping off the mask, listen for the dinner bell ringing in the distance, and Mother/Father yelling from the front porch, “Dinner’s ready! Come and eat!”

There’s a spot at the table just for you. Oh, not the “you” you have constructed and hope will be more acceptable. This meal has been prepared special for the real you that you have been afraid to reveal — the pure unspotted “you” that was born into the world, the “you” God sang over and delighted in before you did anything good or anything bad.

The front porch light is on. Come home and eat while the food is still hot!

So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him” (Luke 15:20).

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