They say that home is where your heart is. I find a lot of truth in that statement. A home can also be a place of refuge and peace. At times my heart longs for the home of my past. Things and places that connect me to who and what I came from. I am from New Orleans. Sometimes the Crescent City lures me back and makes me feel a need to be back there. I go, I soak up the culture and eat the delicious food. I still long for the past. Very little in life stays the same. My parents are gone, my siblings live in other places, friendships have faded and things are not as they were before. Sure, the food is still wonderful, you can be entertained and/or be swindled in the quarter, the music touches your soul at every corner, the party atmosphere prevails, and the threat of a flood or a hurricane remains omnipresent. Stroll through familiar areas of town and see glimpses of the beauty and grandeur that was and the transformations made due to the changing times. Some of the changes are good. Some not so much. We have a need to hold on to what we remember, but just as we let the good times roll, time and change roll on too.
My mother’s parents were born in the 1890’s. They did not have telephones in their homes for the first years of their lives and had no concept of what a computer would be. Today we have telephones that double as computers that children now play with as babies. My grandparents lost their first born child when he was two years old due to complications from Hydrocephalus. Today this condition typically has a successful outcome when treated with surgery. Many of New Orleans’ beautiful homes were built in the 1800’s without many conveniences that are standard today such as electricity and plumbing. A home without these conveniences today would not meet building codes. These are just a few examples of how the past facilitates change as we look for new and better ways to do things.
Parents and grandparents nurture and teach their children and grandchildren. The wisest of those parents and grandparents learn from their children and grandchildren too. After all, we are raising the leaders of tomorrow. Change can be good, but change can be hard. It is important that we respect the past while embracing the future. Sometimes we have to let go of what was and create something different that embraces the past as well as life as it is today.
We can never really go home to what was. What we can do is honor that past by honoring those that came before us; continuing traditions that connect us to the past; and nurturing relationships that shaped the people we are today and those that will shape our future.