“Never burn a bridge you might have to cross.” This is a timeless jewel of wisdom which far too many people tend to forget. The person who falls out with an employer only to need a recommendation from that employer later on; the person who refuses to support a political candidate and then needs help from that person when she is in office.
As we approach Thanksgiving, I am reminded of that wise gem as I give thanks for the bridge of family and home – one bridge that we ought to never burn. In his classic poem “The Death of the Hired Hand,” Robert Frost writes that “Home is the place where, when you have to go there,
They have to take you in.” Our national crisis of homelessness attests to the vitality of that pearl of wisdom and reflects more on the homeless than on our nation and society. For how is it that a person could ever be homeless with all the relatives and friends one must surely have?
Perhaps Thomas Wolfe is right when he wrote that “You can never go home again.” Of course, it helps to note that he is writing between the two great wars and in the midst of a climate of pessimism and a crisis of faith. For Frost’s wisdom is vindicated by the parable of the Prodigal Son where the young man, who has as the young people say kicked his family to the curb, discovers that he can go home again.
And then there is Socrates who railed against being exiled asking how can a man be worthy enough to live in another country when he has been found unfit to live in his own country? Or, as somewhere else it is written, “Charity begins at home.”
This Thanksgiving, I am giving thanks for family and the security I get in knowing that I can always go home again and my family will take me back. Not because they have to, but because they want to.