You can’t go home

It’s always a sad day to have to disagree with Jon Bon Jovi and agree with your mother-in-law, but here I am.  When Bon Jovi asks with rock-n- roll bravado, “Who says you can’t go home?” who wants to disagree?  Not me.  And yet, when my daughter was preparing to make the drive home after her first semester of college, and her grandmother told her that going home wouldn’t be the same, I knew her MeMa was right.  My daughter didn’t want to believe it, she confessed to me, but before she knew it, she was experiencing all the angst that comes with wondering how things will be when you get home.  Will your friends treat you the same?  Will your parents and your siblings be the same?  Will all those familiar places calm the unsettled yearnings of your heart?  She learned that you really can’t go home – at least not the same person you were before.

As she was making that long drive home, across three state lines and past an obscene number of Subway restaurants, my daughter was anticipating a joyous reunion with family and friends, still clinging to the hope that her grandma didn’t know what she was talking about.  She wasn’t thinking about the fact that she has spent the last six months living with new people, working with new people, studying with new people, worshipping with new people, buying tampons and Top Ramen and Chai tea lattes from new people.  Those seemingly mundane activities can’t help but change a girl.  She has a whole new set of experiences that don’t include those of us back home.  She’s in that terribly frightening but awesomely exciting place in her life where she’s holding onto the fragile threads of change, trusting that they’ll weave her into a life that is every bit as durable as the piece of cloth from which she is being unraveled.  From one tapestry to another, this is the way the Weaver of our lives works.  He does not allow us to hang perpetually on museum walls, but rather proves Himself to be the artisan of living, breathing fabric that surpasses the finest breathable cotton cultivated on this planet.

Of course, my daughter did experience the reassurance of the love of family and friends this trip, and I am confident that someday she will be able to come home without angst and reservation.  Bon Jovi’s words will ring true, and my mother-in-law will be…well, a little less right.  There will be more strands of my daughter woven into a lovely new tapestry than will remain in the old, and she will be beginning to feel secure with the new thing of beauty that she will be.  Even if the Master Weaver does allow times in her life when the dust mites of reality nibble on her front side and the cold walls of perseverance chill her backside, she will know that “It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright.


15 thoughts on “You can’t go home

  1. I must say that this is one of my favorite songs. However, I remember being in your daughter’s shoes coming home from Nebraska…every. time. I still feel that way when I go back to my home town and encounter friends, etc. On the bright side while things changed between my dad and I on certain levels I always knew that I could always go home. Not to the same home, but if the world got nasty, life changed, plans didn’t work out… I could go home. I could go home to retreat from the crazies of college ministry, I could go home for dinner, or I could go home to live for a time if I needed (which I did for a few months before I got married so I didn’t have to renew the lease on my apartment). So, I think of it that way… I can go home. Not the same home each time, but each time I did go home I learned more about myself and the ways that God was growing me or ways that I needed to grow more. I hope that your Miss A would gain those things as well and pray that she would always know that she can go home. 😉

    1. Yes, JMC, I think these are exactly the things that she is learning. And I’m so thankful that she has the beautiful example of women like you to assure her of the goodness in the journey. Thanks for commenting.

  2. I can so relate to this. It’s hard to be a square peg trying to fit back into a round hole, but over time the edges get smoothed and a new…hopefully better…shape emerges. She will find her way.

  3. Awesome post, Sabrina, especially for those of us with departing offspring. As well the converse is that we can’t bring them back home as they were. Memories remain of ‘the way we were’, and it’s hard to not let nostalgia overwhelm us. But my mom, 92 years of wisdom old, has always moved on, and makes new memories wherever she is. I hope to follow her example.

  4. This is my favorite of your writings so far! You are such an observant and caring mother. I’ve never really left home or family but I totally related because of the openness of your post.

  5. S, thank you! You are too kind. Maybe you haven’t ever left home, but you are on your own journey that is making you more beautiful every day. You’re one of the blessings in all of my daughters’ lives.

  6. Bri,
    “He does not allow us to hang perpetually on museum walls” What an amazing line. This is so beautiful. Your thoughts made me sad because things keep changing and as we see the kids make their own way we know that the days of them all in their pajamas around the breakfast table are gone. I love the days of raising my children and I never wanted them to end. But God keeps moving us in different ways and He will not allow us to be static. You expressed yourself beautifully. Great post.

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