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You Can't Go Home Again

If you're familiar with the Thomas Wolfe book of the same name, you'll recall what the protagonist, George Webber, had to say on the subject:

"You can't go back home to your family, back home to your childhood..."

In many ways, home for me is only a distant memory. The house I grew up in (and which my dad remained in for years thereafter) is someone else's now. Both my folks have passed away. My job took me away from Illinois nearly 20 years ago. Without the nucleus of our parents, and since two of the five of us kids relocated out of state, we've tended to drift apart somewhat. The book has definitely closed on my family as I knew it.

Though my hometown in many ways looks the same, upon deeper inspection, many more things have changed.

Still, can you go home again? As long as there's a human link, I think it's possible. In addition to three siblings and assorted nieces and nephews who are scattered around Chicago, I've realized that, these days, "home" is in large part many of the folks at the church in which I grew up.

There are still people there who have known me since I was very young. Others are friends from my years singing in choir and working with the Sunday School. Because St. Matthew streams its services and archives them online, I can watch during the week and stay connected.

Through the general prayers, I know who'll be celebrating a wedding anniversary. I find out about those who are experiencing medical challenges. As a result, I can send cards, pick up the phone, and keep old, dear friends in my prayers.

When I get back to Illinois, I stop by church and can pick right up where I left off. So while a lot of what made it home is gone, as long as people remain with whom I have a connection, I know that I can still "go home again" - at least for a while longer.

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