Throughout my life, I have heard the expression “You can’t go back home.” Recently, I had the opportunity to visit the town where I spent my teenage years and experienced this first hand.
I’m not really sure why I haven’t returned before now. My parents moved away shortly after I left for college and I while I thought about visiting on several occasions, I just never got around to it. Ironically enough, for the past 30 years I have lived less than three hours away.
I have even had meetings and appointments that have brought me within 15 miles of the town but never seemed to have the time to go that few extra miles. So a few weeks ago, when I found myself close to the town I once called home, I decided to finally take the time to stop and visit.
I didn’t expect the town to be exactly as I had left it 30 years ago. I did not expect it to be unchanged, untouched by the passage of time. I did however expect that I would still recognize it.
As I drove through the streets of my former home town, I found that it had somehow grown to more than four times the size it was in my youth. I found myself struggling to identify once familiar landmarks. I felt like a stranger in a place I once called home.
I couldn’t fathom how places once so familiar, places that I once could find blindfolded, were now so foreign, so unrecognizable. As I looked closer, past the new shopping centers, restaurants and housing additions I found that the places I knew were still there. The house I lived in, the church I attended, the football field where I cheered on Friday nights, they were all still there.
As I focused on these familiar landmarks, I was able to navigate through my old home town. I was able to find my way again.
As I have reflected on this experience, I thought how similar it is to our experience in life. We often start out knowing the path that we should take but along the way we get distracted. We let people and things get in our way that misdirect us and obscure our view of the right path. As time passes, often the path becomes almost unrecognizable to us.
Fortunately, with our Heavenly Father’s help we can find the path. We can “go home again.” If we stay close to Him and seek after His guidance, He will show us the landmarks that mark the right path. He will show us the way back to our Heavenly home.