For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalm 100:5 NIV
Have you ever gone back to where you grew up or where your parents and grandparents grew up? It seems to be a natural inclination to return to our old stomping grounds for a nostalgic visit. Most of us would never want to return to set up residence and live there again, but we sure like walking down memory lane.
Those places trigger our childhood memories. They reconnect us to our past – to our history. They give us a sense of being grounded in an ever changing world – a sense of continuity.
Trips back to our stomping grounds provide insight into who we are and who we have become. The generational patterns begin to take shape as they are played out in our own lives. And we often realize just how much our early family relationships have influenced our life choices and values.
I have recently visited some of my husband’s old stomping grounds in the mountains of North Carolina. Lunch with a cousin led to a scenic drive to the home where his papaw grew up. And it continued higher up the mountain to the little white church where Eric and his grandfather sang together. Those memories led to stories of rising at 4am and eating the home cooked breakfast his mamaw had prepared before they made the long drive to the church.
Experiencing these memories with Eric allowed me to know him better. I saw how his love of music and singing in a gospel quartet went way back to those early years with his grandfather. And I can’t help but see where his love of good southern home cooking came from. (Wish I knew how to make those biscuits his mamaw made!). Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed our visit to my husband’s stomping grounds.
My own trips back to the small town in Indiana where I grew up have always triggered warm childhood memories. I’ve chosen to hold onto the best of them and let the not so pleasant ones slip away. Each visit finds me driving past my grandparents’ old home where most of my warm and loving memories reside.
As I ponder those memories, I am aware of just how far I have come. And yet, I clearly see how those early family relationships influenced my life choices and values. I see how the generational patterns have been lived out in my own life and I am able to differentiate between the productive versus unproductive ones. In other words, I’ve learned what to discard, as well as what to hold onto. A process we all must go through.
Visiting my old stomping grounds still gives me a sense of history – a foundation on which to build. It helps me understand myself better as I look back at the lives of parents and grandparents- now clearly seeing where some of my own traits and interests came from. And I value the sense of continuity those visits provide. I know where I came from, where I’ve been, and where I am today. None of it is ever perfect, but it is who we are.
May God bless you as you enjoy all of your visits to your “old stomping grounds.” And, as Psalm 100:5 tells us, may we rejoice in knowing that the Lord is good and his love and faithfulness continue through all generations!