Sometimes, you have to go back in order to move forward.
This past Memorial Day weekend I had the opportunity to go back to my home town, Omaha, Nebraska. Yep, Nebraska! And before you can ask the question, YES…there are black people in Nebraska and NOPE, it’s not just my family...LOL! I moved away from Nebraska over 20 years ago and relocated to Atlanta, Georgia and came back to visit my parents about twice a year. But, once my parents moved to Georgia, I only went back to Nebraska for funerals. It’s quite sad when you think about it.
After being warmly greeted by my family, we ate, laughed and shared stories. It didn’t take long to break the ice and get back into a familiar space with my aunt, brother, cousins, nieces and extended family. As I looked around at each of their faces, I was both grateful and a regretful. Grateful to be here in the now with each of them, but regretful that I had missed so much of their lives. Sure, we have chatted on the phone, through text messaging and liked and loved each other’s posts on social media, but there is nothing like the real thing. It wasn’t until that moment that I realized how much I needed to feel the presence of home again.
During the following days, we visited the 2 houses I grew up in, my grandparent’s old house and the first house I purchased when I got married. We rode up and down the streets that I used to walk as a child, drove past schools that I attended, purchased food from some of my old favorites and walked the cobbled streets of the Old Market District in downtown Omaha. Somethings looked exactly the same as when I left and other things had expanded and grown beyond my last memory of them.
At times I felt I had outgrown my home town and other times I felt very small because certain places felt unfamiliar. My mind was racing and was flooded with old memories that nearly took my breath away. I was fully immersed in home again.
As I woke up on the last day of my Nebraska visit, God reminded me that sometimes you have to go back to move forward. Nebraska raised me and taught me many hard lessons. Georgia matured me and allowed me to explore the deeper parts of who I was to become. But, in this season of my life I needed to be reminded of where I came from in order to see where I was going. I needed to go back to see how far I’d truly come. I needed to reintroduce myself to family that had grown from the last time I saw them and get to know them from the place they are now. I needed to see things through a new lens and appreciate the precious life lessons that I received from the first place I called home.
We all need to step back sometimes in order to see the road ahead. My encouragement today is not to wait too long to do it and to give yourself permission to fully be immersed in it all.
Thank you Nebraska for all that you have given me and embracing me when I need the warm touch of home.