Daylight saving time ends on the first Sunday in November, when clocks move back an hour. What if it was possible to turn back the time by a few decades instead of just an hour? What could we learn from such an experience? Recently I had the opportunity to visit my childhood home for the first time in over 30 years. This step back in time caused me to experience three major life changing lessons!
I was staying with my parents, in my small hometown in rural Ohio, when Dad was dying of cancer. I would take Ronnie, their beautiful Australian Shepherd named after Ronald Reagan, for a walk each evening. One particular walk we somehow found ourselves wandering down County Line Road past my childhood home. My folks moved out of this little place when I was grown and gone. There it was, the little ranch house nestled across from a huge corn field, on the very edge of town. It wasn’t a coincidence that the current homeowner was in the front yard watering her flowers and happened to love Australian Shepherds. I couldn’t resist the invitation to come inside upon her learning this was the house that I was raised in.
The house was a time capsule. Everything was just like we left it. They didn’t change a thing! She kept telling me how much they love this house and never wanted to change anything. The kitchen cabinets, the windows, and the front door were all exactly the same. I could see my whole family of six gathered around the kitchen table for dinner, sitting in our assigned seats as to avoid any arguments. I could see flashes like scenes of a movie when we all were sitting around laughing, or having the hard conversations, and crying. I was shocked to see they still don’t have a dishwasher! That would be something worth changing.
Walking through the doorway, between the kitchen and the living room, I touched the doorway with my hand. I could feel the energy of love that’s passed through these walls. I could hear Dad laugh because of how I often would walk right into the doorway. I smiled hearing his voice say, “After all that money I spent on ballet lessons, I thought you’d be a little more graceful.” Standing in the living room I notice the huge picture window wasn’t nearly as big as I remember. I could hear the big band music playing on the record player and my Dad playing along with his trumpet. I could see my three sisters and me all dancing around the living room.
The tiny bathroom at the end of the hall was just as small as I remembered and I’m still amazed that a family of six survived, given five of us were girls. Gone was the huge oak tree out back. I used to climb and sit in it pondering life outside of this little town. I used to sit there and gaze up at the leaves wondering what I’d be when I grew up. I could see all of us in the backyard with the neighborhood kids playing kick ball. I saw a flash of us giving an infamous performance of the “County Line Girls” which was our singing group. Grandma’s quilt was hanging over the swing set as curtains on our stage, as we sang 70’s songs and served refreshments of graham crackers and Tang.
The memories housed within these walls flashed by so quickly, taking me to a happy simpler innocent time, before bad decisions, heart break and adult life. This beautiful gift of turning back time is yet another memory I’ll forever cherish. Miranda Lambert sings, “I thought if I could touch this place or feel it, this brokeness inside me might start healing. Out here it’s like I’m someone else. I thought that maybe I could find myself, if I could just come in I swear I’ll leave. Won’t take nothing but a memory, from the house that built me.”
Leaving the little house on County Line Road for the very last time flooded my heart with emotion. Rolling waves of homesickness and sadness revealed ripples of joy and happiness. While slowly walking Ronnie back to my parent’s house, I thought about how soon Dad would be gone, and life would never be the same. It was in that moment I realized going back in time revealed three life changing things to me.
It’s not so much the actual house you miss but your childhood.
Maya Angelou said, “You can never go home again, but the truth is you can never leave home, so it’s all right.” Memories are a part of you. They don’t live in a house; they live in your heart. The memories, good and bad, created who you are today. You are stronger and wiser because of your past. You are stronger and wiser than you think. The beautiful thing about memories is you take them with you and no one can ever take them away.
These are the good old days!
One the most powerful wedding toasts I’ve ever heard happened at my nephew Brant’s wedding. His younger brother, Trevor, gave the toast. Trevor said, “These are the good old days. Right here, right now! People talk about the good old days from long ago, but we are living them now!” The truth is we miss the past. We mourn what used to be, but right here and right now is where life is happening. Last week we added a new family member, a new baby joined our family. There’ll be more. People will pass; new babies are born. Life is still happening. The key is to live it now, right here and right now!
Appreciate where you are and what you have!
The same way the new home owners love and cherish my old house, we need to love and cherish what we have in the here and now. We lose out on the joy of today if we live with one foot in the past, mourning what used to be, and yearning for more from the future. We often are waiting until something happens before we’ll be happy. We miss out on the now.
If you are still breathing that means you’re not done! The truth is, no matter where we are in life, the best years are not over. If you’re suffering with illness, or addiction, or a marriage that’s on the rocks, the best years are not behind you! You are still making precious memories today. Be grateful for what you have and grateful for where you right now. Going back in time taught me the best times are still yet to be!