Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Home Again

I have a friend who wrote an autobiography entitled, You Can Indeed Go Home Again.  I guess I don’t have to tell you that the book was self–published.

My friend’s assertion to the contrary, I agree with Thomas Wolfe. . . it is fuckin hard to go home again.

I’ve gone home again twice in my life:  when I left the seminary, and when I gave up on finding a gay partner.  From those two experiences, I learned that, even though I returned to the same families and the same house and the same neighborhood, everything both times was different. Home had changed.

People got used to living without me.  My families had grown and changed and developed routines and interests that didn’t include me.  Similarly, and maybe more directly to the point, I had changed in both those extended sojourns away from home.  I had grown.  I had developed ways of living that didn’t include or depend on my families.  I had become self–sufficient and I had my routine of life that didn’t always fit the routines of the families to whom I returned.  Both returns, therefore, were very difficult for me and for my families.

Coming home after leaving the Friars, I was 21 and I had been with the Friars and my classmates for seven years.  I was used to a routine imposed on me by the Order.  I had few decisions to make when I was a Friar.  I was surrounded by friends—brothers, really—who shared my dream of priesthood and vocation.  I never had to worry about what I would wear.  All the was different when I went home.  My parents and my brother didn’t understand all these differences in me.  And I didn’t understand that my parents had moved to a much different emotional accommodation than that which they had when I was 14.  My brother, too, was not the brother he was when he was 12.  He had a lot of friends whom I had never even met.  He had girl friends.  He was away from home for everything except sleeping.  Leaving the Friars, for these reasons and many more, was the most difficult experience of my life.  Until I got married, at the age of 31, I would have vivid dreams that I was back with the Friars and, when I woke up and realized where I really was, I was extremely depressed.

Both times, when I tried to go home again, my families were very loving and generous, to say nothing of being amazingly tolerant.  They really weren’t the problem.  The problem was that I had changed and I had to build a brand new life for myself amidst the same old surroundings.

I managed to do it, but only because I had no options, or felt as if I had no options.  I am so thankful to my parents, my brother, Beni, and my daughters for being so patient and sweet to me when I was such a mess.

I write about this today because our daughter, Rebecca, is coming home again on Friday.  I worry that she will have a difficult adjustment moving back to Virginia from Boston. 

I’m keeping my fingers crossed for her.  Good luck, Bex!!!

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