Miranda Lambert tells us so plaintively in her poignant song, The House That Built Me, that 'you can't go home again'.
I rarely listen to these lyrics, because the truth of them hurts so profoundly...
...and even thought I am happy and content with my life now, that song can take me back instantly.
The years I lived at the old farmstead were ones of extreme contrast...the peace and beauty of history, gardens and wavy old glass turned rosy by sunset juxtoposed against the ugliness of cruel words and destructive anger.
I left there both running from and searching for a path to save a destructive marriage that had filled my entire soul with self-doubt and self-hatred.
I left there too stubborn to realize that sometimes vows have to be broken in order to survive...
...and too proud to let anyone know how totally and completely beaten down I had become.
It is not a new story. We all have relationships with people determined to bolster their own lack of self worth by making us feel like less than we are.
Somehow, within the constraints of those destructive relationships, our lives become a made-for-TV movie. We tolerate ugliness because of fear or love or pride or just sheer stubborness that the focus of our wills can change things. We tell the stories of our lives through brightly clenched teeth and glittery eyes...edited to protect our egos and fictioned up to protect our hearts. We turn around and around in dizzy circles unsure of how we arrived at that point in time...and even more uncertain how to change things.
It took me years after I moved from my beloved old farm to gather the courage to return.
When I finally felt I could manage it, I drove there alone and walked to where the lilacs marched along the property boundary. It was mid-summer and the heart-shaped leaves shielded me from view.
'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...'
I can't write this even now without remember the anguish I felt on that sticky July day. It makes my heart ache still...after all this time. I stood there and cried until my eyes hurt and my nose burned and my chest heaved and it was still not enough to exorcise the painful memories.
I made myself sick with sorrow until finally I said, "Enough. Just enough." I walked away not really healed but fortified with the knowledge that I could and would survive my past and could and would allow myself to have joy and peace in my present life.
The visit began the long, arduous process of healing, even though I buried a part of my heart in the gardens at the farm... a piece of me that has never grown back.
Since then I have learned confidence and self trust. I have learned to forgive, although I have not yet mastered the art of forgetting.
You can never, ever really go home again...but sometimes you have to start the next part of your journey by going back to where the pain began.
'If I could just come in I swear I'll leave
Won't take nothing but a memory
From the house that built me...'
"You can't go home again." I know this. And I know that home is here and home is now, but...
...There is a part of me that aches to live in that glorious beauty again...without the pain...
Or perhaps it was the pain that made that time especially beautiful.
This post is written for Alphabe-Thursday's letter "Y". Y is for you can't go home again.
To read other Y posts, just click here.