Bread Crumbs Lead “Home”

HanselAndGretel-789800It’s the piece you break off before eating the rest yourself. Is it that tiny piece that temporally satisfies an anxious dog beneath your kitchen table or is it your pathway back home?

It’s those small morsels of bread tossed behind you that mark the leaving of your beginnings and parents behind, but with a careful trail that leads you back home. A morsel of bread. Wheat. Sustenance. The morning smell began your days and its memory-smell lives within you until the end of your days.

If you’re young, it’s time for those morsels to path you toward an unknown future or as memory-morsels to lead you back home if you’re older and unemployed.

Throughout life we can lose our way, our way may lose us, or those we love leave. But it’s those darn morsels that intrigue me. Slung over our heads as she smugly leaves or sadly as an important job leaves me. Those morsels are remainders of a place, a welcoming place, the beginning place; the place called home.

I lost my job and she’s off to college. My tossed morsels are long spoiled and hers are freshly pitched over her shoulder.

For a parent to “let go” of a college-age daughter is second only to her being sent into a war zone – only this time it’s the battle of life. It’s a parent’s last wave at the college’s entrance or perhaps an invisible hug (because “Dad, everyone is watching us!”) – or looking for meaningful work in work’s twilight.

It’s those persistent but never present morsels that bring us both back. Hers in her own time and mine in mine. Mine is the easy one. I know about the morsels and the way back home because I read the “Hansel and Gretel” story. She will live that story without having read it because those morsels don’t disappear – they only lead back to where that morning smell continues to live and is so often taken for granted – home.

Books by Fr. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.
Available at
“Soulful Musings,” reflections on the Catholic Church and American culture
“Living Faith’s Mysteries,” reflection on the Christian seasons of
Advent, Christmas/Lent, Easter
“Spiritual Wonderings and Wanderings,” reflections on the Catholic Church and American culture

About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). Six books on the Catholic church and U.S. culture are available on
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