Going Back—and Moving Ahead

Many years had passed since I had visited the old homestead, the farm where I grew up in western Canada. Since we left, my family had moved twice. We first relocated to a large town and then, four years later, moved to the big city. Since that last move, I had gone on to college, gotten married and had children. It had been more than 15 years since I’d been back to the farm.

When I accepted a speaking appointment in a nearby province, I determined to take some extra time and visit the farm. I knew that ownership of the place had changed hands a couple of times since we first sold it and that no one was actually living on the property. Something drew me back, though; perhaps it was the desire to recapture the joy and happiness I remembered.

I was very excited as I turned and drove up the driveway of the old place. Though I had heard that the house had been sold and moved, I still hoped that what remained could restore that happiness and contentment.

But it was all gone. The farm buildings, including the garage, the barn, the chicken coop and sheds, were gone. The treed pastures had been converted to fields of grain, and the big tree that suspended our swing was gone, as were the lilac bushes, the evergreens and the treed area around the house that had hidden my secret fort. Almost nothing I remembered remained.

As I drove away feeling somewhat sad at the deconstruction of my past, I realized it likely wasn’t quite as idyllic as I recalled. It’s probably a good thing that we have selective memories. The more distant the past events, the better the memories, so it seems.

Even with the challenges that lay before me, my best opportunities for fulfillment and happiness were ahead of me. The past could not be changed. The future was where I could make a difference.

by Chaplain Ron Hyrchuk

July 17, 2008