The writer Thomas Wolfe wrote a novel entitled “You Can’t Go Home Again.” The main character in the book, George Webber, realizes “You can’t go back home to your family, back home to your childhood …back home to places in the country, back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting but which are changing.”
And L.P. Hartley in his book, “The Go-Between” wrote “The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.”
What does that mean – “You Can’t Go Home Again”
I always took it to mean that things and you change, and that you can never recapture the feelings you had in the past. It will always seem different.
Either that, or your parents have moved without leaving a forwarding address
But on a serious note, I recently saw how true those sentiments are.
This past spring my husband and I took a trip to the South. Planning our trip, I wanted to stop by my home town in southern Illinois to see the house where so many of my childhood memories took place. It was a small house with a white picket fence, a front porch with a swing and roses growing on a trellis behind the swing.
In this house I was given my first Bible as a birthday gift from my oldest sister. One of my happiest Christmas memories occurred here. Shopping with my mother, I had discovered a beautiful little kitchen set complete with dishes. When I asked my mother if I could have that, she said, “Sorry, honey, but that is too expensive. But maybe we could just get some dishes without a complete kitchen.”
That Christmas, after we had opened our gifts and I had my small set of dishes, the phone rang. Some friends of ours had a little girl my age. She had received two identical Christmas gifts. Her parents wanted to know if they could share the extra gift with me. Imagine my excitement when they brought the gift over – it was the very kitchen set I had wanted.
Other wonderful memories I shared with this little house: playing “cowboys and Indians” in the back yard with my brother; sitting with all the family on the front porch and watching the 4th of July parade which came right by our house; mother’s great chicken dumplings dinner always followed by delicious pies.
Nearing my home town, it was clear that things were not as before. Our house had been on the western end of town – just a few blocks from our street you were in the country. But now, there was an interstate running west of town with hotels, restaurants and stores – all places we had never heard of 50 plus years ago.
- Cracker Barrel
- Comfort Suites
- Days Inn
But there was no white picket fence!!!
No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
When we pray, “Give us this day our daily bread,” we are, in a measure shutting tomorrow out of our prayer. We do not live in tomorrow but in today. We do not seek tomorrow’s grace of tomorrow’s bread. They thrive best, and get most out of life, who live in the living present…Bread, for today, is bread enough.