I come home about once a month, and every time I do I’m hit with a wave of nostalgia for what my friends and I like to call, “the good ‘ole days” (yes, I know, I’m young, I’m living the good ‘ole days, yadda yadda yadda). I know when I graduate college I’ll consider these days the good ‘ole days too, but let me have my moment. When I come home, it almost feels as if I’m stepping into a different life – one where I never moved out, I never went to college, I never made new friends or experienced things outside of my little country town. It’s such a bitter sweet feeling to be seeing people I haven’t seen in forever, when I was used to seeing them every day.
Coming home means catching up. It means coffee, donuts, ice cream, Target runs, long drives – anything and everything that allows me to spend time with the very people who helped me get to where I’m at. During FCA on Wednesday night, we were asked about who in our lives has helped us, good or bad, to get where we are right now. Maybe it was a coach, a teacher, a friend or family member, or even someone who doubted you. Either way, it was somebody. When I was asked this question, I found it so difficult to think of one particular name. Sure, my parents helped out more than I could even imagine, but it wasn’t just them. Yes, my band/choir instructor(s) were a bigger part of my life than I’m sure they know, but it wasn’t just them either. And my friends, as much as I love them, didn’t lay out this path that I’m on on their own. But it was all of those people. It was the boss I couldn’t stand when I first met, but who later encouraged me to keep following my dreams. It was the underclassmen who probably thought I was teaching/leading them, when really they were teaching me. It was the customers who came in every Tuesday and asked me to pray with them before their meal. Every single person that I crossed paths with holds some responsibility in helping me become the person that I am today, and I am so, so thankful for every one of them.
So, while I don’t come home all that often, and when I do I can’t always see everyone I want to, I do my best to acknowledge these people who have helped me so much. When I first moved away, I was okay with leaving this town behind me. I wanted so desperately to start over and experience new things outside of the comfort of small-town Ohio (obviously small-town Indiana was going to be a lot different). But I’m glad I didn’t do that. I think in the transition to this new part of my life, I was only thinking about myself – I wasn’t thinking about all the people in my life who I could never in a million years repay for all the ways they have helped me, whether they’re aware of it or not.
I know that my life is changing and moving in a direction that pushes me further away from home, but I hope I can keep encouraging and being encouraged by the people who have collectively laid out this path before me. I hope I can keep appreciating the life that I’m moving away from. But most importantly, I hope I can keep having those moments of catching up, because no matter how much I and everyone else has grown, I never want to lose touch with my roots – they made me who I am.