For some of us, there remains no house of our childhood. Especially for those of us who grew up in rural areas, it’s quite possible that there is no longer a real town where there once was. Cities, too, change rapidly, and it’s quite possible that the school building in which we spent our teenage years has been torn down and replaced by something else.
And a lot of the people who were important to us are not accessible now; they died or moved someplace too far away. Or we have lost their contact information or are limited by our own issues of health or resources and cannot make the trip.
So, maybe we can’t make a physical trip. This isn’t a new problem. Did you know that the labyrinths you find in some very old European churches were constructed to serve pilgrims who could not make the physical trip to the Holy Land? Sometimes travel simply isn’t possible. This means we find another way to go home.
- We write letters.
- We connect on Facebook or other social media. (I have reconnected with my best friend from third grade—who knew?)
- We construct our history through old photographs and other documents.
- We create scrapbooks out of photos, mementos, and our own memories.
- We write stories of ourselves, our families, and other communities.
- We draw “life maps,” in which we chart the course of ourselves, with important dates, names, places, and accounts of key events.
How do you go home again if you can’t travel there? What has helped you make pilgrimages of the heart?
Vinita is out of the office and on vacation this week, August 12–16. She will respond to comments when she returns next week.