Once there was a young boy who dreamed of being a knight.
His father was a clothing merchant, and he was not of aristocratic blood, so he had very little chance of ever becoming a knight. Yet he saw the men in the shiny armor, he saw how proud they sat on their horses, with their shields held close and their swords hanging from their belt. He saw how people respected these men, how these knights had power, status, and money. He knew that he wanted to be a knight more than anything in the world. If could only do that, he'd make his family proud.
After many years, his father acquired the money to send his son to help reclaim the Holy Land. He spared no expense: his armor was custom built, the breastplate was inlaid with jewels, and his cloak was woven with strings of gold. Dressed in this glorious suit, the man who had once been a boy had achieved his dream, and he basked in the status and the glory he received, knowing one day he would be a prince.
But soon after he set out to join his comrades at arms, he had a dream. Sleeping heartily, fulfilled in life and sure that he was impressing others with his status and wealth, he had a dream that changed his life.
"Who can give you more? The master or the servant?" the voice in his dream asked of him.
"The master," he responded.
"Then why do you abandoning the master for the servant and the prince for the vassal?"
Realizing that he was having a conversation with God, he asked: "What do wish me to do, Lord?"
"Return home, and you will be told what you must do."
What went through the boy's head as he headed home, giving up his dream of status and power? Was he disappointed to be within grasp of glory, only to be commanded elsewhere? What he exuberant to be free of the desires for worldly possessions? What went through his mind as he returned?
Perhaps there was no great catharsis as he returned to his home, having failed to accomplish the goal that the others had found lofty. Perhaps in that time he spent, walking home after selling his armor (he couldn't come home with his armor pristine), he simply learned how to transition one life following a dream into another life of following his Calling. If this child's return tells us anything, it's that we can be called even when we're not ready...even when we've got our own plans. Sometimes it takes a huge change and some time in contemplation to really understand.
The young man would walk farther distances as he tried to understand where God was commanding him to work. But that's another story for another day.