Dreams, Growth, Surrender, writing

You Cant Ever Go Home Again

You Cant Ever Go Home Again

They say that you can’t ever go home again, and of course, we return home again and again throughout our lives and know, at least in part, this is only half true. But I am not talking about that half.

Of course, returning is physically possible. Even if the familiar terrain of wherever “home” is, changes, we can still GPS our way back to the very doorstep of our childhood.

But Is it possible to ever find ourselves in the exact place we once were? The summer between 9th and 10th grade I flew back to my previous home to visit a friend I’d been forced to say goodbye to when my family relocated up north. I’d only been gone a year but when I came home, though she looked just as she had when I’d left, she was not the same. In truth, I hardly recognized her. Even her laugh seemed different. The week I spent visiting with her felt simultaneously familiar and foreign. I had come home, except I hadn’t. What I remembered no longer existed. Those joyful, familiar moments I’d captured, now wiggled free and vaporized whenever I’d try to hold them out to myself for reflection.

I returned to my family at the end of that week disappointed and grief-stricken. Almost nothing about that trip “home” felt right. I was a tourist.

It was not my home anymore. The hole where I had occupied space had closed. In my absence, new people and pastimes had filled the void I’d left behind.

I’ve been reading through The Art Of The Essay, as I am working on a longer work of my own, and only a few pages in, I stopped on this passage and sat with it for a good while,

” See, ‘memory has its own story to tell, ‘ as Tobias Wolff has written. It produces a truth that’s clearer and dearer to us than facts or recordkeeping could ever achieve. Memory holds on to part of the places and people and events, and each time we dust off a memory and offer it to others, it becomes more a part of who we are. We all know, writer and reader alike, that memory has its limits. We know this even from the stories shared during a family reunion or a holiday gathering.”

Charity Singleton Craig, The Art Of The Essay

Our own memories prevent us from ever really returning home again. We come back to the familiar only to discover that the wallpaper we remembered to be brown with stripes, is in fact cream with a plaid pattern. How did we reduce the plaid boxes in half, seeing only the vertical lines running down the length of the wall? We remember the garage having one window, but standing in front of it now, we see two–we’d forgotten about the always overgrown bush that obscured the other window for all of those years, or that stash of tools that blocked the window it from the inside.

Our memories are untrustworthy, which isn’t to say that we are all liars, but only that our memories are not concrete. They are more than snapshots captured and tucked away in to the folds of the biological photo albums of our brains. Our memories are susceptible to outside influence. They can be altered by so many things, including our ever-shifting moods.

Another Way

Returning home, is always by another way. Experiences, circumstances and personal growth leave their own marks on us. Even though we may physically return, our hearts and minds are not exactly the same as they were when we left. We fill in the gaps with the stories we tell ourselves. We blanket over hard memories with make-believe versions that we wish were true. But the Truth is not as fluid as the world wants us to believe. The stories we tell ourselves matter.

Everyday we are telling ourselves a story about who we are, who God is, and what it looks like at any given moment to live this current version of our story. How we remember our history–not only our immediate history–but our ancestral history, as God’s people, inevitably shapes the stories we tell ourselves and others. We have a decidedly short memory in light of eternity. Our penchant for forgetting the unwavering goodness of God leaves us wrestling with Him when the invitation at hand is to let go and receive.

All summer long I’ve tossed around the idea of returning to this blogging space to write more regularly. I don’t have any more time in my schedule than I have in the last year, but the longing persists, and the words keep coming to the tip of my tongue. I realized today, when I logged on to write this, that it’s been a year and change since I last published anything in this space. I’ve missed the rhythm of it.

I’m coming back to it, though I know that as much as I miss what it once was, I cannot come home again–at least, not in the same way that I once occupied this space.

I return, but by another way.

I return, but I am not the same.

I’m looking forward to making new memories and sharing new stories.


  1. So much truth here, Kris. I am happy you are blogging again. We who write have to write. It seems God propels us forward, whether we think we have time for it or not. Each of us seems designed to give something back to His Creation, His people, our planet—to build, sing, sculpt, teach, reach, or heal. I love that you are sharing your gifts! Love you❤️

    1. Kris Camealy Author

      Thanks, Mama. I don’t anticipate getting in here more than once a week, or maybe more like once every 2 weeks, but I am glad to have this space to come back to after all of these years. Thank you for encouraging me! We’ll just keep at it…
      Love you!

  2. Funny, I just finished … unsuccessfully… looking for a picture of my childhood home. I know it exists; I remember when it was snapped.

    I too am in a time of returning after a 6 month semi-sabbatical from my blog. I’m looking forward to posting regularly again. But Echoes of Grace will have a bit sharper point; and my blog will be sharing my writing time with another project. Hmmmm, I wonder if that’s reality.

    Loved the pictures laced through your words.

    1. Kris Camealy Author

      Thanks so much for reading, Sue. I hope you found that picture you were looking for…And I am glad to hear you’re returning after a sabbatical. I pray you find a comfortable rhythm again.

      Grateful for your encouragement today!

  3. So well said! I, too, miss the ‘old days’ of blogging. But those days are no more, and the sooner I can reconcile my spirit with that truth, the sooner I CAN return and begin doing it a new way. Thanks for the encouragement, friend.

    1. Kris Camealy Author

      It’s a bit sad that it’s not like it was…but it’s good to return. So good to come back to something I once loved so much. It has taken me a long time to reconcile it too…I hope you’ll find your way back to it as well–if it feels right for you. 😉 I think i was grieving the changes for a good while. Keep writing, friend. You have so much to share.

  4. I just watched your teaching in hopewriters and had to go look you up when it was over. I am floored at the timing of this post in my life. Why today did I watch your video? Why today did God lead me to these words that I so desperately needed to hear? “We can return home but we cannot occupy the same space”…”The hole where I had occupied space had closed.” As I write this my husband and 14 year old daughter are visiting “home”. It’s been 15 months since we left and I sent my daughter with him on his work trip because I knew it was too soon for me. As they have arrived and I’ve been hearing stories of the reunions between my daughter and her friends, I am unable to escape the emotions I was trying to avoid by not going. I am grieving all over again but this time it is about what we have missed. As I press in to the Lord today and will myself to live in the present, it was a beautiful Godsend to come across this piece and have someone put into words what is so fresh and raw to me in these moments. I have connected with you today and, as a writer, I know these connections are the best compliments to me in the world. Thank you for sharing your heart and your words with the world. They matter more than you know.


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