You CAN go home again

Thomas Wolfe had it right. “You can’t go home again.” But he was only half right. Memory is the gauge of the deepest affections that feel like home. For 11 years Knox Church in Cincinnati was my spiritual home. That was 25 years ago (1983-1994), but by memory and affection, it was yesterday. Calendars and clocks mean nothing to the time of the heart.

Preparing for the visit, I recalled Charlie Chaplin‘s surprise when he reportedly entered a Charlie Chaplin Look-Alike Contest in Monte Carlo and came in third. Would I come in third in my own look-alike contest? Whose faces would I recognize after all these years? Would they recognize me? Would my slow pace and weathered face contradict memory’s sense of home-coming?

Back at the Minneapolis-Saint Paul Airport (MSP), a golf cart driver who assists less abled passengers had given me a ride to the farthest gate of Concourse E. “Where you headed?” he’d asked. “Gate so-and so, Terminal E,” I answered. “Hop on. You’d never been able to walk that far,” he said with a smile, and began to weave through the pedestrian passengers down the interminable corridor to the last gate of Concourse E.

Knox members Bob and Connie had been assigned to welcome home their old friend at baggage claim. At the Cincinnati Airport, there was not a golf cart in sight for passengers with a bad back or hips. Limping along the long concourse toward baggage claim, the story of Charlie in Monte Carlo lightened my load.

Tired and sore from the second long walk, I spotted a man on a balcony looking down at the arriving passengers. By the time I came into his view, the other passengers from Delta Flight 5277 had come and gone. The Bob I knew years ago was immaculately dressed — gray suit, white shirt and tie, and a well-polished pair of Allen Edmonds. The man on the balcony was casually dressed in a polo shirt and khakis. As I drew closer, I looked up; he looked down. I squinted. He squinted. After a closer look, visions of Simon and Garfunkel singing “Old Friends” danced in my head. I waved to Bob. Bob waved to me, two old retired friends together again after 25 years.

Walking to the car, I noticed something unusual. Bob was wearing my shoes! I’d had my mousy-looking Ecco walking shoes for five years. Never, never, never had I seen them on someone else’s feet. They’re ugly, and as far from Allen Edmonds as my Gate was from baggage claim! “Most comfortable shoe I’ve ever worn,” said Bob.


After all these years, Knox fit like an old shoe. Thomas Wolfe never had it so good. Thomas Wolfe never flew home to Cincinnati!

— Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, February 11, 2019.

20 thoughts on “You CAN go home again

  1. So glad you had a happy homecoming Gordon! I have been thinking about this recently as we just moved a thousand miles away from our old home to our new home – after 32 years in one place. And know we’ll want to go home again and again…
    Nancy

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    • Hi Nancy. I thought I had replied but apparently the technical gremlins intercepted it. Your relocation after 32 years may leave you momentarily apoplectic as it did our Nina when we moved from Wooster to Cincinnati years ago. She went back to Wooster and then 10 months came again to Cincinnati where she’d run away. Home is where the heart is. Your home of 32 years will always be home. I hope you make as many good memories in your new home.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks Gordon for for making another connection to making meaning in our lives. “Calendars & clocks mean nothing to the time of the heart”. It must be that we live in the “time of the heart” as children. We experience that kind of time again when we connect to a place like Knox Church.

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    • Gary, so well said, my friend. “It must be that we live in the ‘time of the heart’ as children. We experience that kind of time again when we connect to a place like Knox Church.”

      In his last days, my friend Wayne Boulton emphasized the childlike character of faith. “Lest you become as little children…” He seemed to take from Jesus’ words that adults are blessed who maintain the deepest trust in the goodness of God. My days with Wayne and with the people of Knox were confirmations of “the time of the heart”. Kairos interrupts Chronos and fills the empty space with meaning.

      Thanks for engaging the conversation so thoughtfully.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Thanks Gordon for another connection made to the making of meaning in our lives. “Calendars and clocks mean nothing to the time of the heart”. It must be that the time of the heart is where we live as children. When we connect with a place like Knox Church the same “heart time” is experienced again.

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    • Garry, I just learned that there’s a stack of comments that went without reply during times I was away from the computer and wi-fi. I just tried to reply to your comment referring to Mcluhan, hot and cold media, Wall Street, and social media — and my reply disappeared. Probably hit the wrong key by mistake. Re: your comment here, Knox will always be home.

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