I’ve returned to the region where I was born and raised. On a weekly basis, I’m seeing faces and visiting places that I’ve not seen in decades.
It all came full circle last Thursday. I was set to talk to a group of high school seniors at a rural high school in northwest Tennessee. As we pulled up to the school- I was overwhelmed with memories from over forty years ago.
My dad was a high school basketball and football coach in the area. Some of my most vivid memories involve those games. Sitting on the bench with the team. Watching dad make coaching adjustments at halftime. And the bus rides to the road games. Yes- the lengthy rides on those long, yellow school buses to little towns all over West Tennessee.
And here we were….forty years later…pulling into a beautiful school that time had forgotten. The football field, the tiny gym- even the shape of the oval parking lot- was all the same as when I was a child.
All at once I had returned to my roots. It seemed that those forty years had gone by in an instant. I thought about my parents, my relatives in the area and those great players on dad’s high school teams in the 1970’s. It was a time of innocence for me. Purity.
I’ve experienced quite a bit of “life” since then. Disappointment, heartache and pain. I’ve hurt others and done plenty that I regret. Life’s much more complicated now.
But it doesn’t have to be.
“Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster.” Joel 2:12-13
God invites us to come home- regardless of how long we have wondered. We are to bring our sadness and pain to Him….just return to Him with all our heart. He’s “gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love…”
Jesus has provided an avenue for a homecoming…and I’m grateful for this road home.
Please pray for me to become a more complete husband, father, son and worker as I transition back to this region.
And please let me know how I may pray for you.