I can’t go home.
because there is no home.
There are moments in life where we become acutely aware of how we have grown.
Like putting on those pants you wore in high school….(or the pants you wore before shiny hips), you have grown, the pants don’t cover your ankles anymore and they are uncomfortable…confining.
Sometimes our dreams have homes, gardens. Places that have cultivated our hopes and preened our passions. Some times our dreams grow wild beyond our carefully mended fences. Beyond the very places that have nurtured them.
For 20 years, the gentle, warm people of southern, conservative Christianity nurtured me and gave me dreams of being a doctor where there was no doctor for Jesus and for my people. About 10 years ago, the garden of my heart started stretching tendrils beyond the steady rows of pews. Seven years ago, my heart expanded to embrace the children who changed me and taught me a different kind of gospel. Five years ago, it fell in love with medicine and the wild flowers grew outside the fence in the rocky soil of death, poverty, disease and injustice. Two years ago, with some heart break, I set out on a journey to find people who teach me the skills I needed to grow (live) the dream.
Three days ago, I sat in what should have been a crowning moment in my testimony at least of the Pollyanna, inspirational Christian youth (see Part I) that I was, an interview for a job with the very people I had admired from afar in my travels. As I sat there and poured my vision of teaching, caring for children and my tribe, I found myself speaking in tongues…my very language had changed. We no longer truly understood each other I found myself uncomfortable, winching at their language, I understood it but it grated on my ears like fingers on a blackboard. From Chick-fil-la to the number of white haired men in power to their lack of care for inner city work (overseas is always somehow holier) I found myself squirming in my chair.
We believe in the same God but we no longer are from the same place. I no longer belonged there.
There was also interrogation about the disability and I found myself a changed woman than I was as a medical student where I had taken what ever people threw at me and quietly just kept going no matter how horrible what was said to me was. Now, I was a physician from one of the top programs in the country where for the past two and half years no one has every questioned my ability to be excellent at what I do, in fact its expected. And while I was not openly defiant, I did not brush it off. I threw it back. I offered no mercy for their ignorance, grace but no mercy.
I found myself in the end though, not angry but sad….and in culture shock
As I rolled up the familiar roads of my adolescence both figuratively and literally, I found myself looking around and while I recognized the landscape, I realized that the home i had loved and had come back to was no longer there.
It was devastating and incredibly liberating in the same moment.
No longer must I trim the dream to fit the confines of the original garden, now I can let it grow freely to what ever end it finds.
I can’t go home
but I can build again.