You can never go home again.
This year’s excursion to Dallas has been an odd one in more than a few ways. With the birth of Will, we were looking to spare a few bucks and so ended up coming down almost a week earlier than normal in order to beat the Christmas rush. The wedding that occurred a mere day and a half after our arrival and the car travel that accompanied it threw our schedules off even further, resulting in the whole trip feeling simultaneously interminable and abbreviated, if that’s possible.
Furthering the displacement is the fact that my wife’s parents moved out of their previous house a few months prior to our arrival and into a “discipleship house” that they are taking responsibility for. The Christian ministry they’re a part of (they don’t like to be referred to as a “church”, as their purposes are primarily service-oriented and less of what one might consider traditional “church fare”) has sponsored such a house for men for several years. Young men from troubled backgrounds, often coming from drug and alcohol addicted states or recent brushes with the law, agree to a fairly regimented and structured life where they are given caring surroundings and Christian teaching/discipleship in order to help them get their feet under themselves and become mature believers. My in-laws felt led to establish an analog with a mission to serve similarly situated young women. They also have long had a heart for the homeless population of Dallas and the house chosen for this mission is right off Central Expressway in a neighborhood that hosts a fairly large homeless population, meaning that they are able to serve the needs of the homeless fairly directly. I’ve gone out with them to hand out baked potatoes and it’s a wonder to see the ways in which they’ve already started gaining the trust and respect of the homeless people in the neighborhood in these first few months.
I’m amazed at the work they’ve been able to accomplish in such a short time, but the change inherent in such an endeavor, combined with the fact that there are now several non-family members living in the house with my in-laws only increases the displacement I feel. We had begun to get into a bit of a pattern over the past few years, with events playing out fairly uniformly from year to year; now, there’s a grandson added to the mix, as well as a change in locales and a fairly drastic change in scheduling.
It’s an odd sensation, almost equivalent to the feelings I had when my parents moved immediately after I graduated High School. Returning “home” from college never felt quite right, and their house, while familiar, still doesn’t feel like a “home”. Andy probably knows exactly what I’m talking about, as his parents executed a similar maneuver post-H.S. as well as my wife’s family [they’ve moved twice since she graduated, to be clear. -ed.], while Brad will soon be able to speak to the feeling himself, although I’d imagine his relocation to S.C. has probably hastened the non-home sensation.
We’re due to observe Christmas tomorrow afternoon, so we have a real chance to start some new traditions, with my son getting a ground floor opportunity to help shape them. It should be fun.
I’ll never get used to it being 60° at Christmas, though…