A last minute surprise flew me to the familiar hills of southeastern Tennessee, where, if formative means lifechanging and growing, I spent some formative years. My soul gasped at the tall trees and every hill crested felt like coming home.
I have known many homes in my life, I'm never sure where to say that I'm from. Pennsylvania feels like a lifetime ago. New York feels solid and real, though my time there was so punctuated by time in other places that I'm never sure how long I really did live there. Tennessee was home and not home at the same time, the awareness of unbelonging I felt there, while at the same time trying to Be All There.
On the plane the other day I met a man who shared his story, told me of his wife and his sons. Trying to not boast, but how could he help it? These were good stories I heard, stories of a man who has lived well and full and passionately and lovingly and longingly.
"Don't forget where you've come from," he says to me, "and don't forget to tell people you love them."
I nod. My throat feels like its cracking while I swallow hard.
It is easy to forget and easy to assume people already know.
Even if you determine to live intentionally and fully in every place you inhabit, it is easy to breeze in and out of lives as easily as you sign yet another lease. Assuming that because you're the only one moving and changing that others will always be the same, dependable, available.
But this is what I learn from the man in 36E--it isn't enough to assume that home will always stick around or that things will never change. They are meant to change. We are meant to change. To stay the same means to be still and we are pilgrims on a pilgrimage, we all. Resting and stopping til the strength is there to go forward, move on, learn and grow.
Yet, never forgetting where we have come from, that we have loved and been loved.