Full Circle

Yatesville_smMy Good Wife and I have been discussing what to call our spread in Yatesville; it just seems like it needs to have a name.

I tried to think of something biblical. “Garden of Eden” seems like overkill, “Gethsemane” sounds risky, “Heaven” is overly optimistic, and “New Jerusalem” is too apocalyptic. I also thought about “Jericho” since my blog is called “On the Jericho Road” but the fact that Jericho’s walls came tumbling down gave me pause.

She suggested that we might find a name in one of our favorite movies. “Bedford Falls” won’t work because there are no falls on our place, “Casablanca” sounds exotic and Yatesville isn’t, “Shangri-La” didn’t turn out well for Charles Foster Kane (and we’ll have no use for a sled), and “Los Angeles,” the setting of Pretty Woman (her favorite film), is taken. I’d love to call it “The Eighth Dimension” as in The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai across the Eighth Dimension (my favorite movie) but I’m pretty sure she would veto it.

My Good Wife also suggested that we might find a name for our place in one of the songs that means a lot to us. Elton John’s “Your Song” is her song while my song for her is “Something in the Way She Moves” by James Taylor; there’s nowhere to go, place name-wise, with those. My favorite song of all time is The Beatles’ “Let It Be” which, while a great slogan, would not be a great name.

I suggested “Full Circle” as a possible name for our place. Yatesville is my father’s home; he was born in the house on the farm (we now refer to that house as “The Big House”; my Uncle Johnny resides there) in 1921, three years after his parents acquired it. I grew up ten miles away in my mother’s hometown of Barnesville; we spent every Sunday afternoon of my growing up years in Yatesville.

Forty years ago this fall I left home to go to college and except for the summer following my freshman year I never lived there again. So in a real sense I am, in moving to Yatesville, coming full circle.

But it’s a mighty big circle.

A lot has happened in the last forty years. I’ve picked up three degrees, I’ve served as pastor of three churches, and I’ve taught at a college. I’ve lived in two states besides Georgia and I’ve travelled to many other places. I’ve read umpteen zillion books and I’ve written a few. Through it all my Good Wife has been with me and together we’ve been blessed with two children and recently with two children-in-law. When I left home I had one parent, eighteen aunts and uncles on my father’s side of the family, and four aunts and uncles on my mother’s side; those totals now stand at zero, five, and zero, respectively. And the changes aren’t over as I’ll be embarking on a new career as I prepare to move back home.

Can you go home again? I don’t think so. But that’s not what I’m doing, anyway. The place to which I’m returning is not the same place. I am not the same person I was when I left. The people to whom I’m returning are not the same people—the ones who remain have gone through many changes, too.

So while “Full Circle” may well be a good name for our Yatesville home, it only tells part of the story. That circle has taken my Good Wife and me on a very long and wonderful journey and as we have taken that journey the circle has grown wider and wider; so have our hearts, our minds, our spirits, our relationships—so have our lives.

I anticipate that the circle will keep on getting wider as long as we live…

This post originally appeared at On Jericho Road.

Michael Ruffin is husband to Debra; father of Joshua and Sara. He pastors First Baptist Church of Fitzgerald, GA and a graduate of Mercer University (1978) & Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (1982 & 1986). He is the former Pastor of First Baptist Church, Adel, GA, former Associate Professor in the School of Religion at Belmont University in Nashville, TN, and former pastor of The Hill Baptist Church in Augusta, GA. He will join NextSunday Resources as a curriculum editor in May, 2015.

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