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RJ Dupre column: Can we ever go home again?

What is a home for most of us? It is a dwelling where we gather our belongings to protect them and display them. It is where we eat, sleep, relax and often work at its maintenance. It is also a refuge, (at least in most cases), a haven where we can escape from the hustle and bustle of the outside world. It is where we gather with friends and family. But home is also our community, the town we live in and where through the years we get anchored and develop a sense of belonging.

Then, for many of us we have to move, and leave behind our secure setting. The reasons for this uprooting are as varied as the people involved in this change. We start all over again, and it comes a time when we go back to our previous home. This is what I did a month ago; I went back to North Dakota, to visit friends and family, and rode through my old neighborhood. But the pilgrimage was not as joyous as I thought it would be. Of course I enjoyed seeing my child and some of my friends, but things had changed. The energies were different. Life always goes on, and nothing seems to be permanent.

I decided to go to the Badlands, because that is where my spiritual home is. It might sound strange to others, but for me that is where, for many years, I have been able to reconnect with my inner self and life. I walked in the hills, watched the majestic buffalo and marveled at the calm and serenity of the Earth. There I can reevaluate my options and pray for the guidance of my destiny. Home is inside of us, it does not really matter where we physically reside.

One of my good friends I saw during my trip, said to me, "RJ, we can never go home again." At first the statement shocked me, but as I pondered her words, I had to admit, that for me, it was true. Nostalgia replaced my expectations of an exciting return home. I was between two worlds, the old and the new.

As I returned to Detroit Lakes, my heart was heavy. I felt confused, almost bewildered. My past and present were pulling me in different directions. I knew, then, that I had to find a way to overcome this inner struggle, by surrendering to the idea and the belief that nature and my inner self are the only places I can call home and where I can turn to regardless of where my physical being resides.