03 February 2008


I have had some experience with whether it is good or even possible to "go home" again, as I grew up in a small western Kentucky town, where my parents still lived after I left for university, and to which I still periodically return. (My parents are long departed.)

Another return I experienced was, after living in Jamaica, I returned to the U.S. for the first time in 3 1/2 years. Returning with different eyes, I was a different person and had a changed perspective on life in the States. For example, I experienced a heightened awareness of the public infrastructure that we are blessed with here. I am speaking of things that we take for granted which poor countries have an economically difficult time providing: sidewalks, street curbs, street lights, street signs, electric grids that work, clean water, parks, schools, and so on. We possess great public wealth. These were not new things to me; it was that I saw them with fresh insight.

The place to which one returns has also changed--the flowing river is different in each spot and time. There is truly nothing that is stationary in this world. So, it's a moving target-river-home to which one returns. My old home town certainly is not the same. For example, some years ago WalMart moved in; subsequently, downtown moved out.

Returning home can be a measure of who one has become (and how much one is the same). It is a good place for adding a perspective to self-knowledge. However, the experience can be quite uncomfortable, as I have seen. One's history can be weighty. It is an emotional, moving experience.

Finally, a quote by T. S. Eliot, in which I have inserted a phrase, is appropriate here: "...the end of all our exploring will be to arrive at where we started and know the place [and OURSELVES] for the first time."

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