Last month, due in part to the American holiday of Thanksgiving, I visited my old hometown, stayed with one parent but met often with the other, and attended a few services at Mom’s (once “our”) church, and was struck by the truth behind the old saying, “You can’t go home again.”
Although I was glad to be there and see people I knew, I didn’t call nearby friends or arrange to see them, nor did I drive by my old house or former workplace. The old life didn’t cross my mind, at least not long enough to dwell on or even matter. Nothing tugged at me.
Except, very soon after my arrival, a desire to return home.
Not to my old house, but to where I live now.
There was nothing wrong. There was no family argument or problem, no falling-out with friends; I just didn’t feel at home. Not anymore.
It is a strange state of being and state of mind that one is home yet not home, as if one has dropped into a surreal story and must find the way out of an Alice in Wonderland maze and back to reality.
I am a far different person than I was when I lived in that town, went to that church, spoke with my parents every week. The beliefs I once held as truth have shifted, perhaps even fallen away, so that only core truths remain. Life has a way of shaking the pan, dividing gravel from gold, helping one to clearly see the difference.
Those still surrounded by gravel may think the gold-seekers are off the mark, mislead, gone astray, so they try to warn them and hem them in again in safe places, in the grey cocoon of what’s humanly possible, of what’s comfortable and can be controlled, but they miss what the gold-seekers see — that glint of something more.
For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as all our fathers were: our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is no abiding. (1 Chronicles 29:15, ASV)
“And there is no abiding” — not until we’re Home.