You know the old saying, you can’t go home again? I don’t actually know who came up with that, but it’s a depressing thought. I mean, no offense to Thomas Wolfe, but the idea of not being about to return to your roots is quite disheartening. One of the things I love about humanity is the idea of our past and our present being a large part of who we are and who we become in the future. Though sometimes we may want to, we can’t divorce our past from our present or future self–and really, despite the sometimes horrific circumstances we experience, we shouldn’t want to. Being able to return home is, honestly, what separates humans from the rest of creation.
In Robert Burns’ famous poem, “To a Mouse”, the farmer apologizes to the mouse for destroying her house, but then marvels how despite this, the mouse is lucky because she doesn’t have to worry about the past or the future, but stays in the moment just working at whatever she needs to survive.
That doesn’t sound lucky to me.
To me that sounds like a depressing way to live.
There is a lot to be said for ‘living in the moment’ but planning for the future and learning for the past is, in fact the reality of what makes us function as humans.
And what connects us to God.
You see, Burns didn’t destroy the mouse’s home. He destroyed her house.
Home is not just a building. Home is more than that. Home is a state of being, a feeling, and a surrounding. It is people, not places. Going home again isn’t about reliving the past, it’s about a community–where you are learning and supporting one another from one point in your life to another.
God understand this. In Psalm 87 and 88 the psalmist reflects on how God ‘goes home again’ just like we, as humans, are apt to do. Only God’s home is perfect–and the best part is…it can be our home too.
So, no offense to your genius or blatant criticism of capitalism, Thomas Wolfe, but you are wrong. You can, in fact, go home again, and when you do, you’ll be happier than you’ve ever been.