it’s like coming home.

I was having an impossible day.

Dead end after dead end.

I was still so angry and sad and hurt.

And tired.

Dude. So, so tired.

I sat down and wrote an email to my boss. For one, I knew she would understand that I needed to leave Portland, but also, she had trusted me with starting up an evening dinner service for her business. It was a job I wanted to do, not to just get by, but because my boss is one of my best friends, and I wanted to work hard for her.

Deep down, I needed some space from this place. To heal and move and to move onward. (And the luxury to have this space in the first place…)

She responded with grace and love, and for that, I am so thankful. She wasn’t surprised at my pull to go home, far from it.

So begins the process of leaving a place.

I am no stranger to this feeling. A place is meaningful to me because of its people, and the relationships I hold. And I hold them deep when it is good.

But I couldn’t stop seeing her in everything.

My heart would ache knowing that it would be this way for much longer than I needed.

No. I am not running away.

Running away would have happened last summer. I dug my heels in deep and prepared myself for the decisions I would make in the future. I mourned this Fall. The leaves changing. I thought to myself, “I won’t see trees like this for a long time..” as I teared up riding through the Gorge.

Yes, I am coming home in March. Home for the time being: Jackson, Mississippi.


My sister just had a beautiful baby.

And I am so relieved to have back the intimacy of a family who has always loved and accepted me, and has met me with grace at every corner.

At the risk of taking the prodigal son parable to a place that may seem unfamiliar to many, I will say there is a lot in me that feels good and strong about this decision. I did not leave and gamble away my life. (Or maybe I did.)

I grew to love, and to love another deeply. It changes you. So no, I will not be the same Josh that left over five years ago, but I will be loved and will love you better because of this.

As they say, you have to leave to come back…

My heart is heavy for the ones I will have to say goodbye to, for certainly a season.

They are the ones who kept me here, kept me fed, kept me feeling loved and wanted. They are the only ones who have kept me sane in the midst of wanting to run away from my problems. They are my family, too.

But also, they have their own lives. Their own babies and homes and careers. They are doing big things, that I was so happy to be a part of. Their presence will never leave me.

I suppose that’s the thing. As we move from place to place, we continue to carry the great love we have known. It changes us.

As I transition out of this beautiful place, I will mourn. I will share last drinks and meals and finish strong.

I am coming home.

My heart is full of both sadness and joy.

And I will make room for them both.

3 responses to “it’s like coming home.”

  1. I know that feeling of looking around and seeing everything through the lens of the past. I still struggle with that every day, doesn’t matter where in Oregon I seem to find myself, the memories, they filter how I see the present by way of that lens from the past. It’s frustrating and heavy. I understand why you need to leave. I pray it’s healing for you.

  2. Dude, I feel you. Seems like we had a similar process. I had a hard time deciding to finally leave Asheville and move back home for a while, but it was definitely the right choice. Home really is a place of healing. Good luck with everything.

  3. Wind your way home through Missouri, dear friend? I love your ending. “My heart is full of both sadness and joy. And I will make room for them both.” I have been feeling that way lately with the death of a beloved uncle and the joy of my daughter. Sometimes there’s nothing to do but stretch your heart out a little and let them both sit.

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