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This could be a long post.  I’m feeling a little nostalgic and melancholy, so I’m not sure what might come out when I start typing.  Throw my recent lack of sleep into the mix and things get even more interesting.

A couple of weeks ago I attended a reunion on my mother’s side of the family, in the same park we’ve met in for years.  It’s the first time I’ve been back to Grand Tower since my mother died.  That small Mississippi river town was her childhood home, and mine.  I felt a strange mixture of emotions at the reunion, and still do as I continue to think about it.

For one, I just missed Mom.  Even typing those words makes me miss her.

For another, Dad was there at Mom’s family reunion… without her.  That made me sad.

Third, I felt strangely compelled to tell my eight year old son as much as I could in that short time about my childhood.  I showed him where I lived when I was his age, and where my dad built me my first tree house.  I took him down to the river (as I’ve done at past reunions) to skip rocks, but the river was so high that all the nice flat smooth stones were submerged.  We climbed to the top of Bake Oven Rock, and he loudly yelled down to his mom and brother and waved proudly at them.

My son was born a few months before I turned 45.  Realistically, I know that he won’t have me around as long as I’ve had my mom and dad.  Somehow it seemed important to me to connect him with my past.

Fourth, I enjoyed being with my family.  We had an unusually good turnout for the reunion.  Of the four girls born to my maternal grandmother and grandfather, only one is still living.  At eighty-(ish), my Aunt Betty is amazingly spry.  It was fun watching her dance to a bunch of old 60s rock songs.  Everyone laughed and had a good time.

Fifth, I had a great talk with an older cousin that I’ve always really liked and that I looked up to when I was a kid.  I can’t tell you how encouraging it was to hear him talk about reaching a point in his life where he realized he was a sinner who needed Christ.  Listening to him gave me tremendous joy, and I haven’t stopped thinking about him and praying for him.

I’ve reminisced a lot in the last few weeks about what it was like growing up in that small town.  I have a lot of fond memories of my childhood there.

But it’s not exactly the same small town now that it was then.  A lot’s changed.  And I’ve changed.  I guess that’s why they say you can never go home again.  Home–the home you remember, at least–just isn’t there any more.

But I know that’s not really important.  In the truest and deepest sense, Grand Tower never was my home.  And Sikeston is not my home now.  “For here we have no permanent city but are looking for the one that is coming.”  (Hebrews 13:14)

I’m a long, long way from my home.

Tonight I am missin’ you
Oh, tonight I am missin’ you
In the light of day
I had lost my way
An’ tonight I am missing you
Never thought I would come this far
I never thought I would come this far
I have come through such pain
in the strength of your Name
Never thought I would come this far
I am a long. long way from my home
I am a long, long way from my home
I’ve been a pilgrim on this earth
since the day of my birth
I’m a long way from my home
Tonight I’m sittin’ on this porch in the rain
Tonight I’m sittin’ on this porch in the rain
But Hallelujah by and by
I will meet you in the sky
I’m still a long, long way from home

(Music and Lyrics by Glen Kaiser)

“So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” (2 Corinthians 5:6-10)