Understanding that we can never really go back home

For the past few months or so Ann and I figured that our little family foursome has been just about as spread out across the globe as is physically possible.

Alex is in London for the summer and last weekend went to Paris for a quick visit, staring up at the Eifel tower and taking pictures of the Louvre. Nick was in Lima, Peru fighting his way through the thick air and loving everyone along the way.


And of course Ann and I are here in warm and cozy Hyde Park, holding down the fort at home.


It’s an unimaginable reality for this family that spent every evening together and lived for our weekend fun for what was, in fact, a lifetime.

The world became a little smaller this week when Ann and I waited (not so patiently and a bit teary) at the airport for Nick to come down the escalator and gather us up in his 6’2” body bear hug.

I’ll just tell you it’s impossible to not be filled with overwhelming gratitude for moments such as these. Later today we’ll use the miracle of the Internet and Skype with Alex. Via technology we’ll talk as long as we want to while seeing each other’s faces – and all for free.crown

What would the King of Persia have said about such a luxury?

Last night Nick and I were walking through the house and letting him get used to being in his childhood home again. It was interesting to see what he passed over quickly and what he stopped and stared at.

After one of these pauses, Nick shared an experience he had a few days before leaving Peru.

People he had loved and lived for, for what was again a lifetime, asked him how he felt about going back home.

In that moment he understood that he wasn’t going back home.

The home he had left two years ago no longer existed.

Sure the bricks and windows and carpets and even all the furniture were all the same.

But the home he and his sister ran through and created secret experiments in and tried unsuccessfully to argue quietly so their parents wouldn’t hear was gone.


And what a blessing that it was.

Let me explain:

airplane2When Nick got on that plane as an 18 year old and left the country, he left Ann and me behind – just as he should do.

When Alex dropped us off at the Charlotte airport and sent us back to Utah, she left Ann and me behind as she moved forward in a new life. Certainly we were left in the dust as she flew across the ocean to enjoy all the lovely, posh things in London.

We wouldn’t have it any other way.

But Nick realized that just as he and his sister had left us behind, so had we left them behind as we moved forward – all astonishingly at more or less the same speed.

Ann and I give quiet gratitude at our amazement in how similar the lessons we are learning are with those our children are experiencing.

As they have built their homes wherever they are, so too have Ann and I morphed our existing structure into something altogether new – while maintaining all the familiar and secure surroundings that have protected us for a lifetime.

In leaving each other behind, we actually have created the ability to all move together forward in whatever corner of the world we find ourselves.

Nick commented that the three of us picked up right where we had left off and were instantly the same warm, comfortable, safe and secure yet always-seeking-new-growth-and-learning family that we had been before.

All because we had each changed.

windowNo, Nick didn’t come back home.

This Christmas Alex won’t come back home.

But together, we’ll go forward home.



Ordinances and covenants make this dichotomy and unrealistic impossibility not only possible, but our reality.

As each of you and your loved ones come and go through the years, may you be blessed to always go forward home.



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