I am an Expatriate Hoosier. My wife and I left Indiana almost 21 years ago. You would think the Hoosier would have bleached out of my genes a bit by now.
But no. I am still a Hoosier at heart. I still feel the pain when March Madness starts out with five Indiana teams, only to have them all face defeat while our neighbors to the north and south are represented in the Final Four.
I still shake my head at legislation like RFRA and ask myself, “How many more toes does my home state have to shoot off?”
I miss the simplicity and slower pace of rural Indiana life.
And I start to get misty eyed for my Hoosier home. I find myself watching reruns of IU basketball on ESPN2, or listening to more John Mellencamp than normal, or watching “Hoosiers” (and, for my non-Indiana friends who have seen the movie, Oolitic is a real town in Indiana).
But I have to stop myself. The Lord has each of us where we are for a reason. We are meant to be where we are to sharpen – and be sharpened by – the people in our lives and the circumstances we experience. Had we never left Indiana, we would never have grown. We would miss out on so much. Mostly, we would never have had our son Austin.
Besides, you really can’t go back home. In your memory you can sweetly revisit the past. And you can always travel back to see loved ones. But home is never what it used to be because, even though you can’t take the Hoosier out of the boy, Expatriate Hoosiers – and anyone who calls a new place home – grow and learn and change.
Don’t try to go back home. You can’t live in the past. Live for today, where you are.
As for Hoosier basketball, well… there is always next year.