…or can you? I am visiting my old stomping grounds in Orlando for the first time since moving away. I must confess, I dreaded the trip.

Most people who knew I was heading down here asked me, “Aren’t you so excited to go back and see everyone?” They all expected me to say, “Oh yes! I am all aflutter with excitement.” When in reality, I was nervous, afraid, anxious.

As we drove to church on Sunday, my husband asked me, “Are you excited?” I said, “Nervous.” He said, “Why?” I said, “I’m afraid I’m going to be sad.”

And there it is. I dreaded the trip because I was so afraid of what I would find here. Would everyone be different? Moved on to new places, things, friends? Or would nothing have changed? I didn’t know which I hoped for. If everything was different, then it would be easier to let go, albeit quite sad to see. However, if nothing had changed, would I be happy they were all the same or would I be depressed because all was as I had left it, as if waiting for me to slide back in and pick up where I left off?

The reality is much harsher. Nothing has changed, but I know everything is different.

You know the old saying, “You can never go back…”? Well, I’m not sure I agree with that. You can go back. Always. The question, I now believe, is not can you, but rather should you.

I don’t have the answer. I just know that a major part of me still rests here in Orlando. The part of me that is vibrant, active, alive, and full of friendships. I leave tomorrow and realize I am faced with my new reality: the rest of me that lives in the north. And still I will wonder, “Should I have gone back?”

I think I will say yes. While sad and lonely, I am thrilled to know I am loved and missed and cherished, just as I always was when I lived here. I just don’t happen to live here anymore. Now I just have to figure out how to make the two parts of me meet once again.

Nothing has changed…but everything is different.

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