[Source: an email forward, excuse if a repost]
The father of a teenager usually tries to teach him life skills in an attempt to prepare him for the proverbial 'Big-bad world'. One such father was on a business tour to a foreign country. He had taken his fourteen year old son with him. They were staying at a small hotel.They went out in the day. They were walking on a busy road.
Suddenly the boy realized that the father was no where around. He looked around for him desperately, but to no avail. The boy looked in the restrooms;the shops; the restaurants and the corridors. But no where could he find his father. The boy was scared. He felt tears brimming in his eyes, but he fought them back.. He walked the street up and down several times but could not find his father.
As the sun began to set, the boy decided that the best thing he could do was to make his way back to the hotel.. He rummaged through his pockets, only to find that he did not have enough money to pay for his fare back to the hotel. Anyways, he did not even know the way back. So, he tactfully asked the traffic policeman to guide him on how to get there,without letting him know his actual predicament. He took a bus to a place that was half way to the hotel, for that was the farthest he could pay for.
The other half, he walked. He read the directions from the site maps on the way. Many times he had to ask for directions from strangers. It was late in the night when he finally trudged into the hotel tired, hungry and weary. He marched up the stairs to their room,hoping to find father inside, but he was disappointed. He sat down and thought, 'What next? What should I do? How will I find him in this alien land, with no money in my pocket?'
Just then he heard the key turn in the door and father walked in!
"Dad,Where were you? I've been looking for you all over? Why did you leave me alone and go away?"
The father eased himself out of his shoes and stretched himself onto the bed, "I was only a few steps away from you, all the time!"
"What do you mean?" asked the boy incredulously.
"I wanted to see, if you could fend for yourself.
I was testing you to see whether you could find your way back to me."
"Oh! Really? Then why did you follow me all the time?"
"I had to be sure you were safe. I must say, you did rather well. I'm quite proud of you!"
Years passed. The boy grew up to be a man and the father became old. One quiet evening, the old man sat in the garden, looking at the sunset.
He was talking to God, "Lord, I am old now. I've gone through so many ups and downs in life. Do you even know what I have been through? As I sit in this armchair in the twilight of my life, I wonder what life is all about.
I wonder why you created me and then left me alone in this world to fend for my self.
Why do you not guide me?
Why don't you talk to me sometimes?
Then God replied, "Do you remember the day, you decided to test your son?"
"Did you let him out of your sight, even for a moment?"
"Neither did I! If only you had looked around carefully, you would have seen me. I too expect you to find your way home.
Your son did well; he found his way back to his father!
I too expect you to find your way back to your eternal father; to your eternal home!
Come my child, I am waiting for you to find your way back to me because you belong to me."