Somewhere in between longing and joy, regret and hardship, tears and laughter, there is a place we call home. When we go back we run into all that history, all those feelings, and in turn they run smack into everything that's going on now. That's why going home evokes so many powerful emotions for so many.
It's the place and people you grew up with, the place you learned to sink or swim, or survive and thrive.
Somewhere in between the place we always seek to recreate and romanticize and the place we never want to see again lies that place we call home.
I go back to the place I spent all of my growing up years, so lots of memories come with it. The sorrows and the joys live there within its walls, along with those things that never seem to change.
The squeak in the porch step, the way the screen door sounds when it slams.......my Mom's dryer that will never die, the one that never stops, all day long.......and that keeps spinning no matter if the door is open or not. I am convinced that God keeps all her appliances going.
And this time, the garage talked. The first time I heard it, it scared the daylights out of me. "Oh," my Mom said, "Lauryn has a couple dolls out there that talk and it must be the motion that makes them go off." I felt like I was in a horror movie where Chuckie the doll comes to life.
Everytime I go home I fry something. This time it was my Mom's favorite hair dryer. I think it was going on its twentieth year. I looked up and the connection in the outlet was smoking. I caught it just in time.
My Mom constantly complains about not having enough electrical outlets, and it is a valid complaint. Back in the early sixties, they didn't put outlets in every six feet, about two per bedroom was enough.
There was a new hood over the stove this time. I went to reach for something up in the cupboard and I almost needed a ladder. The new hood extended much further over the cupboard than the last one, but neither my Mom or Dad thought it was a problem when they bought it, they were just happy to have a new one.
The cat still loves to hang out in the sink. The first one liked it there, and so does the new one, amazingly enough!
My Mom still gives me the best of whatever she has. She insisted I have her new fan, not the one that rattles, and having body wash and lotion for me when I didn't even think she heard me say I needed it. At eighty three she still seems to have everything everyone needs.
My Dad still says, "Everything is better when you're here....."
And when I close my eyes I still hear, "Watch me, Nori!" and it makes me happy but sad all at the same time.
My niece still has a problem saying her "L's." She was so thrilled that her Auntie was there with her, watching her swim. And she laughed and laughed at the video I made of her kitties getting into a tussle. Her favorite thing to do now is make videos of us when she thinks we aren't watching and then laugh uproariously when we catch her at it.
I have found that going home teaches me lessons all over again. I learn things about myself and some of them don't make me happy, yet I am thankful for them because without the realization, the change wouldn't be possible.
Going home is made up of little hard and soft moments all strung out together.
I realized this, as Mom and I sat hand in hand watching Franklin Graham evangelize India. We each shed tears because how could you not, watching people who have nothing, suddenly gain everything? Part of mine were shed because everytime I am near them, I feel the weight of time pressing heavy.
We are a family in crisis mode, and aren't we all? And sometimes, most times, I just don't know to help.
One thing I do know to be true, the faith that has kept us together through so much still stands, will always stand. And always.....He keeps us.
And going home and coming home are both very good.
"The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore." Psalm 121:8