You’ve heard it said…
Over, and over, and over..You can’t ever go back.
This is a truth statement! Especially when you return to your past haunts expecting to experience life as you left it back then. However, nothing remains the same. Life continues moving forward. Neighborhoods progress and decline. Businesses come and go. Freeways exist where there was never one before. Traffic increases or the area dies out. People don’t look the same, but you recognize them anyway.
So. Let me rephrase. You can’t ever go back expecting life to be where you left it.
Here’s what I have surmised over the past several visits to Texas.
Where you are from will never be the same. Life continues happening in your absence. You either learn to merge back into your places of the past and learn to fit in with the changes – or, you are better off playing the reluctant tourist with periodic visits.
While driving back from one hospital to another (111 miles apart), I realized I was in a place where I have a cousin. So, Siri? Take me to All That Glitters. Lane changes. Stop lights where there used to be none. Busy streets that only had a ring of familiarity. I know the business location in a vague sort of way. It will be on my right. But the mapping systems says it’s on the left. Maybe they moved? Regardless, I drove right by it and had to U-Turn. There’s Jody, coming out of the store as I park the car. “What are YOU doing in this neck of the woods?” I haven’t seen her face to face in 30 years or so. It seems. But I would know her in a crowd. 30 minutes of catching up, and I’m back on the road. Only to find out later, mom and dad were driving through the same place about the same time. We could have had a family reunion!
While sitting in the Mall, Hospital, Restaurants, or even driving through old haunts and remembering the street names from years gone by, I was struck by the difference, and the sameness, of it all. I have a vague memory of heat and humidity, but until you step out of the A/C you never realize it’s oppressiveness. Until you do it. Over and over again. Your glasses fog up. Sweat beads but has no where to evaporate to! You sprint for the next A/C event….
How did we ever live here? While sitting at both hospitals I realized I know a lot of people within a 20 mile radius of each location. In fact, between the two distances there are several thousand people I know and remember. But is this home?
Just because you know someone there does not make it home. No. What does make it home is knowing where you are supposed to be and then being there.
This made me think of the twins. Jacob and Esau. Jacob, the younger, ended up with his elder brothers prized possession. The Birthright. The right of birth of being the oldest, even if only by a breath minute of birth. But the relationship never worked out, and due to his actions he flees home, sans the benefit of the birthright, the disappointment of his father, and the hatred of his brother. (Genesis 27:41)
Years later, he comes home a wealthy man. He and his brother are reunited and it is obvious they have only each other left. Each has been successful, but the past and distance separates them. There is no Twitter account to announce victories and defeat. There is no Facebook to constantly brag about status. No carrier pigeon. No telegraph. In fact, there is no recorded word that each had any inclination of what the other was doing.
But on the return and when they see each other face to face.
But Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept. (Genesis 33:4 NKJV)
This is how I have felt on my trips back home. Though life continues, and little is the same, there is a sweetness of family and friends that makes me want to embrace them for who they are. Gone and forgotten is the past, especially the negative memories. Catching up on the good things! This is the reason to come back every so often…
I love my family! And old friends!