I really like this little cartoon. It perfectly describes where I am at in my life. I don't recall the exact moment I let go of the Saviors hands to explore my own paths, but not long ago I found myself looking around and realized just how far away from Him I really was.
This life is full of detours that look interesting to our mortal eyes. Each one of us have detours that look more appetizing than others. For some it is the allure of drugs and alcohol. Others may be enticed by the idea of power and wealth. I think my downfall was distraction. In the beginning it doesn't seem like a big deal, it starts out so small. One night of watching television rather than reading scriptures, going straight to sleep without saying prayers, choosing to miss church for a little bit of extra sleep. The next thing you know those small things have become habits.
I firmly believe in repentance, and that once you turn around and start heading back towards the Savior you are finally on the right path. However, repentance is not easy. When we stop doing the small and simple things it makes it easier to stop doing the bigger things too. It becomes much harder to resist even the smallest bit of temptation, and harder to feel the spirit when you do turn off the television and pick up your scriptures. I am on that path now and just like in the cartoon above it is a rocky one. It takes significant effort to do things that once were second nature to me. I find myself tripping over those rocks and wondering if I will ever make it back. During these parts of the journey it is easy to wonder if the Savior is still there or if He's given up hope on you. Yet, no matter what I have done or how far away I have wandered I cannot deny the fact that I know He will always be there waiting for me. He will never give up and leave, He can't, He loves me too much. This thought is extremely comforting as I fight my way back.
I am not a perfect person and I'm guessing you aren't either. We all have times when we wander off on our own. It's an uphill climb to get back, but it is always worth it. I know I still have some work ahead of me, but I know I can overcome and find myself once again encircled in the loving arms of my Savior...and so can you!