I never truly believed that saying that goes something like - you can never go back home.
In fact, I've spent the last few years trying to find anyway possible to get back home. Closer to family and friends. Back to familiar neighborhoods, neighbors and congregations. I longed to take long leisurely rides along the lakedrive of my hometown. Windows down, feeling the cool breeze off the lake and the warm sun on my face, looking for that distant blue line where the water ended and the sky began, as we cruised down the boulevard. I craved the specialities of favorite restaurants and ice cream drive-ins. I longed for the conversation, the laughter, the sights, sounds and smells of home.
Last year about this time, we were all set, ready to go home. House for sale, jobs given up, all our goodbye's and goodbye parties gone through, boxes packed, moving van scheduled .... but as "Moving day" creeped closer, something felt horribly off. Something wasn't right. What we were going to, just didn't seem to be as valuable as what we were leaving anymore. Absurd! Impossible!
Needless to say, we stayed. The For Sale sign came down, jobs were re-obtained, announcements made to friends, family and congregation. And we stayed, with a calm and content feeling in our hearts, gone were the doubts and worries that had unsettled us in the pit of our stomachs.
But the feeling came back...."home", like a whisper in the wind, like a call in the night, I longed for home. My heart ached for home. I just wanted to go home again.
Then I saw a movie over the weekend, where the main character said, family is a group of people that dreams about the same imaginary place.
And with that simple line I accepted it. You can't go back home, 'cause home is an imaginary place. At least for me it is. In the 10+ years since I left my hometown, lots has changed. My friends all grew up and have families of their own, congregations of their own, and new neighborhoods of their own. My old neighborhood isn't the same place it was, in fact, it's not really a place I'd ever really want to live, except as it was when I was a kid.
Some people are exactly the same, others have moved along with life and changed in the process.... or maybe I've changed. We all grew up in the same way, in the same environement, but in the last 10 years, we've been exposed to different experiences, different influences, and there's been change. There is no going back. How can you reclaim what's no longer there?
In the last 10 years, my mom passed away, my grandmother passed away, my dad remarried, my pastor - the one that baptized me, married me and hubby - he's gone, the congregation of the church I grew up in, is practically unrecognizable now, most of them complete strangers to me, the church itself has been remodeled, and barely resembles the building I remembered.....
That uneasy feeling....like a fairy tale you find out isn't true, it's disheartening, disappointing...the magic of it all disappears when you find out that the place you call home, doesn't exist anymore.
Home (past tense) is an imaginary place.
Here, today .... it is home. It's the time I preserve each day on this blog, in picture albums. The time we all share today, the sights, sounds and smells of today....it's my home. It's the place that's being created in the imaginations of my little girls, in my mind, in hubby's mind. It's the place we'll all share one day.....the imaginary place that our memories will weave, and that we'll look back fondly on .... and long for again.
So let me cherish it a bit, as I live it, before it's just a figment of my imagination....