There are times when the past seems like a siren song. When going through old photographs, reading old journal entries is a balm, an antidote for the fast paced, lightning-round feel of today. I've been doing it in other ways too, giving in to this instinct for going home. I've been re-reading books I loved years ago. I know it's partly because I already know the ending. There is no risk that an author is going to yank my heart out at the end and stomp around on it. And even though my own past has sad parts that left that same heart battered, it is still safer than the great-unknown of tomorrow.
Thomas Wolfe made the saying, "You can't go home again" famous. He wrote a book by that title. I have heard it over and over again, and I usually thought it was the logical conclusion drawn from the fact that time changes places and people, so you can't recreate an experience by going somewhere you once called home. But this morning it is meaning something else to me.
I do believe we are meant to keep learning, keep growing, keep becoming. And an occasional look in the review mirror to remember with gratitude, to give thanks for the past, is a good thing. Laughing at my naivete, even my fashion choices, is fun because I am not mean to myself about it. But spending too much wishing for the certainty of the past really does rob me of today.
Maybe it's because the world is so volatile today. When trouble is everywhere, no one rests easy. But maybe this isn't a time in history to rest easy. I hope some growth will come of the unrest, and we will come out of this period of civilization with more compassion, more humility, more insight into what is really true than we had before.
So, going home. If I can't live in the security of the past, I have to do that thing I know is right. Darn if I haven't heard it all my life. But, like other things that are hard for me, like honoring my body with the right amount of nutrition and exercise, I struggle with honoring my spirit with the right amount of trust in God and the simple grit to do the next right thing.
I won't get it exactly right today. And though the soft glow of memory would have me believe otherwise, I know I didn't get it exactly right in the past, either. It's almost funny that someday this will be the past. Like thinking of some hip-hop songs being golden oldies. Makes me laugh. Like the first time I realized the music in my elevator was a Beatles song.
Like a turtle who takes his home with him everywhere he goes, I want to take my home with me into this day. Bringing with me all I was given that got me to today. Giving thanks for being here. Looking up, looking out, Breathing deep. Seeing beauty. Giving thanks some more. Just saying that makes today feel more like home.