In 2007, I spent two weeks in Israel and Egypt as part of a group from my divinity school. It was the trip of a lifetime, one of the greatest blessings I’ve ever received. Being there, seeing the places where so many stories I’d read in the Bible actually happened, was overwhelming. Sometimes I go back and read my journal from that trip. I filled almost the entire book in those two weeks. During Holy Week, my mind takes me back to the places Jesus walked, where I got to walk, too. I shared my experience of the Garden of Gethsemane two years ago. On this Good Friday, I’ve been re-reading some of what I wrote after walking the Via Dolorosa:
In just a few days, I’ll be leaving home and heading home. It might sound confusing. Charleston, South Carolina is the place I have lived for more than seven years now — longer than I’ve lived anywhere else in my adult life. I love it here. I have a job and a church family and a house and a dog and neighbors and friends, and I love them all. This is home. And this weekend, I’ll drive back to the place I called home for the first half of my life – Harlan, Kentucky.
Harlan is a special place. There are numerous Bluegrass songs about my hometown (like You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive), a National Geographic Channel reality show, an Oscar-winning documentary, and the recent FX series Justified (which definitely offered a more drama-filled version of the town than real life). But for me none of that matters as much as the history I have there. Continue reading “Where I Come From and Where I’m Going”