“Who says you can’t go home
There’s only one place they call me one of their own
Just a hometown boy born a rolling stone
Who says you can’t go home.”
Bon Jovi’s hit song weighs in on the age old debate of whether one can go back home or not. It is clear from his lyrics that he believes one can return to one’s roots.
The deeper question is not merely if a person can return to the physical zip code of their origin, but rather about going back in every sense of the word.
On a weekly basis I work with individuals or groups whose strong desire is to ‘go back’. In fact, early on in the pandemic it became almost a universal mantra, “Can’t wait until we can get back to…”
It is clear that there is something in our wiring – in certain situations and circumstances – our compass wants to set back in the direction we have came from.
But here’s the thing – this is unequivocally impossible. While we may be able to recapture a sense of some of our previous reality, we will never actually be able to relive the past.
And that, my friends, is a very good thing. While I understand the allure and comfort of the familiar, we are designed to learn, grow, create. Each and every day is an invitation and an opportunity to sow a new section of the field. As John McQuiston writes in Always We Begin Again: The Benedictine Way of Living, “It is the small daily brush strokes that create the painting, no matter how large the canvas.”
May we cherish the happy, healthy, holy parts of our past. Yet let us set our compasses to the north star to that which we are being called to create and be.
“May your work bring order where there was chaos, wisdom where there was ignorance, brightness where there was obscurity, purpose where there was confusion, warmth were there was harshness, laughter where there was pain, challenge where there was boredom, and God’s holy peace where there was hate. May you create in the name of God who creates, be wise in the name of God’s revealing word and loving in the cause of God’s spirit who serves.” Amen Andrew Greeley