Let Home Find You

The say you can’t go home again. Although I know what Thomas Wolfe meant, I’m not sure I agree. For the past couple of years, it has felt like I have come home again.

After living for more than 22 years in Texas, two years ago Bill and I moved back to Atlanta where we met in 1980. I am the pastor of a church that I drove by almost every day during my first time living here. It is a few blocks from my last Methodist church and fewer blocks from the building where Bill and I were married. It is only a mile from the first apartment we shared. Oh, things have changed in Atlanta since we left, but the part of town where we now spend much of our time is largely the same.

As a result, I have moments of déjà vu so strong they seem almost like flashbacks. It feels as though I have changed more than many of the places I used to haunt. Driving by the place where Bill and I met, or the church where the Methodists said I couldn’t be their pastor stirs interesting feelings and memories that now I can dare to touch.

Although I have been a pastor for almost 40 years, the past two years have sometimes felt like I was starting over, and I’ve loved it. This church in Atlanta is the size of churches I pastored when I began my ministry. Although I loved pastoring a very large church for two decades, and found it both challenging and joy-filled, my current place in life feels deeply satisfying in a completely different way.

I’m not saying I love where I am more than where I was, because that is not true, but what I am experiencing was something my soul needed. It is like picking up an old pen with which you have written many love letters, or your favorite brush and watched the art flow from you.

No, you can’t go home again, but I think it might be possible to let home find you and live through you again. What I mean is that all of us sometimes need to go back to that which formed us to remember who we really are, and who we set out to become. Miranda Lambert said it beautifully in her song “The House that Built Me.”

I thought if I could touch this place or feel it
This brokenness inside me might start healing
Out here it’s like I’m someone else
I thought that maybe I could find myself
You leave home, you move on
And you do the best you can
I got lost in this whole world
And forgot who I am
I thought if I could touch this place or feel it
This brokenness inside me might start healing
Out here it’s like I’m someone else
I thought that maybe I could find myself
If I could walk around, I swear I’ll leave
Won’t take nothing but a memory
From the house that built me

by Michael Piazza
Co-Executive Director
Center for Progressive Renewal


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