The land looks much the same
And the peaceful country lane,
Winding gently past the fields my youth had known;
And again I feel the breeze,
Hear the birds, smell the trees;
But I wonder if a welcome waits at home.
Much too long ago it seems,
I had yielded to false dreams
And embarked a self-sufficient prince, I thought;
On a pleasure-seeking quest,
With a yearning for life’s best.
Oh what woe and waste my birth-right soon had bought!
All the women and the wine
And the friends I thought were mine
Quickly stripped my purse and pride down to the bone,.
Then, quite destitute of aid
In the mire my ways had made,
I remembered bye-gone family times, alone.
How the father of my youth
Had displayed a love for truth,
And for righteous work and ways to chart one’s course.
And no doubt reports had come
Of the folly of his son,
Of the family riches lost without remorse.
Could I somehow still return?
Could I live and lose and learn?
Could I yet retrieve the joy which I once had?
But, unworthy as a son,
Let me just return as one
Who will toil at servant’s chores and still be glad.
As I pace the final mile,
I am haunted all the while
By the thoughts of how to say what must be said.
It seems much too much to me
To expect their sympathy,
And the look upon my father’s face I dread.
But my homecoming is this!
First my father’s hug and kiss
And his ring and robe placed on my wasted frame.
Ere I barely can repent,
All the house-servants are sent
To prepare a lavish feast held in my name.
Oh, the depths of mercy shown
By my father for his own;
And what patient faith and prayers had led to this.
I just had to turn around
And abandon wayward ground
To receive such sweet forgiveness and such bliss.
(What had started out so fine
But had left me tending swine
Was a selfish heart beguiling me to roam.
Thank you, Father God above
For the chastening of your love,
That I might find celebration in your home.)