This week I’m in my hometown, where I grew up, where most of my memories were created.
Whenever I’m driving back “home” and I cross over the state line I sigh a relief of, “Aaahhh … I’m home“.
It’s familiar, the highway, the scenery, even the state license plate is familiar. It’s a nice feeling when I’m driving back home.
This feeling of peace is soon replaced with traffic, inconsiderate drivers and billboards for inappropriate “gentlemen’s” clubs.
I get into my hometown and everything seems to have changed.
The mall has spread it’s dirty roots even further into the town. Debt-burdened people bustling all around the town with their fancy cars and stressed out wallets.
It’s starting to make me sad.
Today, during a play date with a high school friend (and her adorable new baby) I mention that another friend of mine wants to meet up with me while I’m in town. I share my feelings about this get together:
“I don’t know, the thought of reminiscing about our highschool days, party-filled nights and inappropriate behavior doesn’t really sound like a good time to me.”
She agreed. “No thanks!”
Almost everything I remember from my youth, growing up here, seems to have been remembered through rose colored glasses. Or, even more likely, I’ve forgotten about those “other” memories. Those memories you don’t write about in the yearbook. The hurts, the poor decisions, the disloyal boyfriends and even less loyal friends.
Driving around, I’m reminded around every corner; the retail store where I worked for years and had my heart broken, the motel where we’d have drinking parties, the middle school where I never quite fit in, even the church I went to for 18 years, yet felt like an outsider; all of these places bring up old hurts when I drive by. This is the truth – not the rosy picture I would have painted, if you had asked me a few years ago.
This is not home anymore.
I’ve felt less and less emotionally connected to my hometown over the last few years. I think it’s good, in a way, to finally feel some closure on a part of my life that left me feeling so unfulfilled.
I have a home. It’s where God has very thoughtfully and carefully placed me for now. A cute little country home, complete with red barn and cornfields. It’s nothing like any home I’ve had before, and not just because it’s 5 hours away.
I have nothing against my little home state. I think my parents did a fine job raising me. I do have some very fond memories of high school. I’m thankful for the church I grew up going to. I still love to visit Connecticut and will visit often. It’s just not HOME anymore, and that’s okay with me.
Have you ever felt that “home” just isn’t what is used to be? I’ve come to appreciate that the journey of life would be so boring if things just stayed the same. Change is good, moving forward can be a great adventure and what a relief that we are covered by grace.