Who Says You Can’t Go Home??

I will never forget the day I left to go to college. I had my Jeep packed to the rim and drove off as my mom stood in the driveway crying and waving goodbye to her little girl. When I said goodbye I also said I would never come back home (I would come home for holidays, but I would never move back home). At 18 I already knew everything there was to know about the world and was ready to tackle it. And in that knowledge I knew that home was never where I would be happy or be successful. Once I started college, I kept my word. Each summer I stayed in Knoxville, anxious to finish my degrees and become queen of corporate america.

I moved to Atlanta after college and just fell in love with this city. I loved the fast-paced lifestyle, I loved the competitiveness to climb that ladder faster than anyone else. I loved the push to be better, to look better, to have the best “things”. And for almost a decade I have kept up with this grueling pace. But between MS and my heart failure, I have quickly come to realize I no longer live in the land I once knew and something is going to have to change.

“I was looking for something I couldn’t replace
I was running away from the only thing I’ve ever known
Who says you can’t go home
There’s only one place, they call me one of their own”
  (Bon Jovi – Who Says You Can’t Go Home)

Lately I have been spending a lot of time back in my hometown of Tifton. People often make the mistake of saying that because Southerners have a thick accent or they talk slower, or overall operate at a slower pace means they aren’t as intelligent as others. I beg to differ. I always fought the slower way of life, but here lately I have come to appreciate it more and more.  No matter where you go, no matter what happens in your life – you always have home to go back to. And as much as I swore off that, as much as I fought hard to never have to go back home. I have a serene peace in being there. A comfort that I can’t find here in Atlanta.

“With every step I take I know I’m not alone
You take the home from the boy, but not the boy from his home
These are my streets, the only life I’ve ever known
Who says you can’t go home”

My doc has begged me to slow down, to relax. In Tifton I can do that. Because that is just how business is done down there. And don’t underestimate the financial power of this town. You make time in the morning to read the paper and drink your cup of coffee. You make time to sit down and eat lunch. You make time to cook dinner and eat together as a family. And you make time to share a few laughs and share what’s going on in your life. But in the midst of all of this, you get business done too. That’s just not how it works here in Atlanta. It feels like its a rush to find your way thru the chaos that’s called life here. You eat breakfast in the car, you’re constantly fighting traffic, you have to schedule time to catch up with your friends. And it makes me wonder just how much of life we’ve been missing….. Maybe as I’m getting older I realize more and more the importance of family. Or maybe I am finally realizing that slowing down doesn’t mean you can’t be productive and happy or successful. It’s actually the opposite.

“It doesn’t matter where you are, It doesn’t matter where you go
If it’s a million miles away or just 10 miles up the road
Take it in, Take it where you go
Who says you can’t go home”

I turn 32 years old this year. And I always thought I knew my sister pretty well, that we had a close relationship. But it has been the most special gift from God the time He has given me with her over the last couple of months. I get so excited to stop by the farmer’s market on the way to Tifton and pick out whatever goodies I’m going to cook. I look forward to cranking up the ipod, grabbing a cucumber for a microphone and singing and dancing our way around the kitchen. I laughingly enjoy getting up in the morning and reading all four pages of the Tifton paper. I cherish the talks, the laughs and the cries we’ve experienced. I feel like my sister has brought me back home, a place that maybe I belong. She has helped to open up a way of life to me that I just couldn’t find in Atlanta, a way of life I so desperately needed to survive. In a way, Julie has been a pivotal stepping stone in helping to save my heart. I don’t know, maybe in our own little ways, we’ve helped to save each other.

So who says you can’t go home? For the first time in my life, I no longer have any ties that are keeping me in Atlanta. And that in itself is such a freeing feeling. Knowing I can go anywhere my little heart desires.

Take this sinking ship and point it home
We’ve still got time
Raise your hopeful voice, you had the choice
You’ve made it now
”   (The Frames – Falling Slowly)

I’ve got my life vest on, but I know my ship won’t sink. It’s just a matter of turning the tides to point me home again. And there is such a safety knowing I can always go home again.

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3 Responses to “Who Says You Can’t Go Home??”

  1. cathy bowyer Says:

    I know you don’t want to but NEVER forget you always have a home with us whether it be at Rocky Top of Macon!!!
    I am still waiting for your book, your blog gets better and better,, cause it be betta for you!!!!!

  2. cathy bowyer Says:

    I am sooo proud of my two daughters!!!!

  3. A Trish (the bear) Says:

    You gotta home in big old Ktown at the campen’s inn anytime you want.

    Beautiful story. A. Trish

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