This blog has been a little neglected lately with so much of my time and attention taken in the last couple of years by a new job and grad school. Now that graduation has passed and I find myself with a little more time here and there, my hope is that I can return here more often.
Last week I had the chance to vacation in a town I called “home” for 9 years. Visiting with friends who have become like family, exploring favorite spaces (and a few new ones), and eating familiar foods was so good for my soul.
It’s also always a little weird going back to a place that once was home, but is no longer. Things change. People change. We change.
My favorite coffee shop that I would frequent on my days off is now closed.
The church where I served has so many new members and new staff.
The parks I frequented look completely different (or were seemingly impossible to enter for my now unfamiliar mind due to changes to parking and roads).
As I wandered along the Niagara River, a spot I visited probably over a hundred times in the not-quite-a-decade I lived there, I was overwhelmed by this concept of how places are just places YET places matter.
I found myself pondering the hundreds of miles I had walked along that path with friends. Conversation after conversation drawing each relationship closer. I thanked God for those friendships, some of which are still close and some with people I never really get a chance to talk to anymore, all of which have changed in some way since geographic location no longer allows us to quick meet up for a River walk.
I thought of my exchange daughter and the way this path was near her school. It runs past an ice cream shop where her best friend worked, where we shared many ice cream cones. I recalled the day, a year and a half after she left that, she came back to America without me knowing and worked with some friends to surprise me when she joined our picnic.
I thought about the thousands of prayers I prayed in the years I lived near this place and would walk here multiple times a week. Joyous moments, heartbreaking moments, hundreds of little seeds of hope planted in situations of my own or people I love. And as the sun began to set, I recalled hundreds of past sunsets and this truth settled in to my heart:
They are just places. They change. People come and go. Yet, the things that happen there, the memories, the slight little shifts in heart and mind (whether for the good or bad) do indeed shift us, shape us, form us.
That’s what THIS little place, this blog has done for me over the years as well. In some seasons I showed up here daily and others only a few times a year. But through time, through the writing and the sharing and the mistakes and the celebrations, this little space of the internet has shifted things in me, shaped me, formed me.
I’m not sure what it means to return to this place after nearly two years of neglect. I’m different. My life rhythms are different. I don’t know how often I’ll write and I fear saying I’ll come back here often and then actually not doing that.
But for what it’s worth today. I’m simply reminding myself that this place matters and I hope to start showing up here more often again to see how it grows me as I have grown.
To memories made and memories yet to be captured.
To processing life and sharing what I learn.
To not having all the answers but journeying through life in the hopes of stumbling into some together.
To reminding myself once again that there is joy and blessing to be found in this life and it grows when we share it!
Welcome home… to myself.