Life eventually took us to another state and going home meant something altogether different.
My personal roots are complicated. My home of origin was torn apart by cancer, death, and circumstances beyond my control.
|Me, Bus and Wilma-2013|
I have many memories of my early years. It's a blessing and a curse. The house I felt the safest in is still my favorite place for a drive-by. I can envision my family inside, still intact. It sits one block over from Wilma's home.
Life has a way of bringing you full circle. Age has a way of showing you the big picture.
Forgiveness has faded the bad memories and returning home has become something I look forward to. There are two plots of land that sit on a hill on the outskirts of town that will keep me returning until I breathe my last breath. The two people I honor with my visits gave me life.
The two I came to visit recently have given me joy in my life. They've given me part of their lives. They are two of the most selfless people I know. I made a visit to my hometown and spent a couple of days with Wilma. She's been in the hospital for an extended stay and I wanted to spend time with her. As we often do, we talked about the past, memories we cherish, people we know. I've looked into her eyes, felt her warm embrace, and seen tears trickle down her cheeks as I depart my entire life. It's the way we do goodbyes. She has a tender, genuine heart.
During the years since I left, many things have changed. The high school is now the middle school, and my grade school is now a community center. The downtown area has had landmark buildings torn down and new offices built in their place. Gino's, our favorite pizza place was relocated, and The Dairy Queen is a no-name ice cream shop.
But, home is still home. When I drive through town, memories of my childhood come flooding back. In many ways, I'm still the little girl on the inside when I revisit the town of my past. I can still see myself walking to the book mobile on Saturday afternoons after doing my chores. I can remember playing in the vacant lot on my street, learning to ride my bicycle, learning to drive a car, and losing my mom to cancer.
|My high school graduation-1977|
I'm thankful for the two people who live on a corner in West Madison who never change. Their love and support have remained faithful in my life for as long as I can remember, and I have a good memory. When I left the hospital last week, I told Wilma I loved her. She replied back to me, "I love you more." I couldn't argue with her for I don't know anyone with more love to give.
Even though the home of my parents no longer exists, I can go home again. There's a saying that says, "Home is where your heart is." My heart will forever exist in those I love as long as I have breath.
A part of me will always reside in my hometown. I thought I could run away but my roots go deep in that little town that first shaped me. I had to face my demons and lay them to rest.
It was the heart of the people who truly loved me that held the greatest influence.
Look around you at the lives you touch. You may not think you have much to offer. There are hurting, lonely, children all around you. Invest your time in these little ones, or not so little ones. Their future may depend on it. God may be calling you. Don't disappoint Him, or a child in need.
"...Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and did not minister to you? Then He will answer them, saying, 'Truly, I say to you as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.'"