Last week I was doing an iTunes search and stumbled across the song “The House That Built Me” by Miranda Lambert. I was moved as I listened to the words of a woman trying to rediscover who she is by visiting her childhood home.
I thought about the house I grew up in and as much as I loved that house, it’s not the place I would go to reconnect. My place is a 400-acre cattle ranch in Johnson County. My grandparents lived there. My dad grew up there. It’s the place where we had Fourth of July picnics, Easter egg hunts and Sunday lunches. I think of the old mattress on the living room floor in front of the television where I would fall asleep at night while Mamaw and Papaw watched Johnny Carson. I remember helping Mamaw make a pizza from a Chef Boyardee boxed pizza mix. I remember Papaw never ate a piece of pizza. In my mind I can open the drawer in the kitchen where the packages of M&M’s were stored. I can hear the sounds of cicadas in the summer time and smell the spring bluebonnets.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I found Miranda Lambert’s song the same week my aunt Clydene died and was buried; the same week I saw family and friends at her funeral whom I hadn’t seen in years. I cried the next day for the loss of one of the matriarchs of my family and I cried for the joy of celebrating a life of love and service. But as I helped bury my aunt, I realized that a little bit of myself was buried with her. A part of me is gone too, a part I forgot was there.
Connection to our past takes effort. Some people don’t keep the connection because the past is too painful. I don’t have that excuse. Some people live too much in the past and can’t accept the way things are today. As for me, I’ve just gotten too busy with the present. Revisiting our past does not mean we are not moving forward. But God reminded me that we often have to remember where we come from in order to know which direction to take today.