Last week I was reminded of a lesson which I learned a long time ago. We decided to take a trip back to our home state. Our trip began by returning to the community which we left when we moved to Texas. We had a wonderful car ride through four states and both dogs did very well in the car. In fact, the trip was a pleasant one all around. We were able to see friends and family. We were also able to see the damage that an August storm had done to our former community. However, as wonderful as our time there was, we both clearly felt that moving back is not what we wanted.
Once you have left a place, moving back to that place is seldom possible. Visits are nice and nostalgic but you cannot pick up where you left off when you moved away. A person’s life and the lives of those who you knew in whatever community you left move forward in different ways. You adapt and change. Nothing from before stays on hold. It is truly never the same again. When you are living there, this change happens each and every day but goes unnoticed because it is just part of life. After being gone from the community for a period of time, the change is noticeable and creates a much different dynamic for relationships within the community.
I first learned this lesson between my freshman and sophomore year of college. I had lived in my home community for eighteen years. Going to college meant going to a larger community approximately a hundred miles away. I came home for weekends and breaks but when I returned the following summer, I found that while my closest friends remained, they had moved on with life. I also discovered that I had changed some while I was away at college. The hometown was never the same because I had experienced something significantly different.
Like many others, I have experienced this truth over and over in my life. During a time of reminiscing, it is easy to desire to return to what we have experienced before. Thoughts of going back to a place which is filled with memories might enter a person’s mind. However, when you return to that place, you find that it is not the same. In fact, it can never be the same again.
I am grateful for our trip back. I have missed the family and friends we left behind. I enjoyed seeing people even more than the places where we used to go. However, I was glad to come back home. I cherish the life we have created in our new home. This is now home and going back to what we had before is no longer an option.