27 September

Not Yet. Bringing What I Left Behind Back Home. It Was All That I needed.

by Jon Katz

When I was younger, I was desperate to leave a part of me behind, an essential part of me that never felt entirely accepted, the one that was full of fears. The one that was angry and was never received.

I was terrified of that part of me, and I thought I didn’t need it any longer, so I pushed it away as I moved forward. I thought it made me weaker, but I was wrong. It was where all of my strength and beauty was.

Like many frightened children, I developed some strong survival skills. Later, when I was stronger,  I realized that I wanted to be one, not in pieces, but a single spiritual whole.

But I was never sure; I was frightened of bringing that feeling back, having it in me again, or in my life. Not yet, I kept saying, not yet.

I couldn’t leave things that way. The part I left behind was just as much a part of me as my head or heart, and I wanted it to come home, to be one.

This was no simple or easy thing. I was a different person now; much more powerful, some said forbidding.

The banished part had no way of knowing if it could come home and live safely back inside of me; I gave it no quarter when I asked it to leave; I was intimidating and arrogant, so it was pushed out and then ran away.

The person I am now is different, and I don’t need to fight for survival now; I have survived, I am home.  I knew the person I am now had to be different – quiet, small childlike – to get that part of me back. I had to take my grown-up self back to childhood. I needed to be inviting, gentle, and caring.

I had to mean it. Now, not Not Yet.

I wanted my anxious part to return and feel safe, and in so doing, take a step towards wholeness and empathy. He was no orphan; he was me.

How could I be the person I wanted to be without befriending myself and discovering that the part of me that was left behind is good and beautiful. That is when I find my idea of God.

God is where I am weakest, neediest, frightened.

My idea of God, ill-formed as it is, dwells in that safe, that scary, lonely part of me. Bringing myself home is bringing God home.

It is where I am most human, most naked, most myself, the weakest and most vulnerable place, and where my spiritual life is the richest. I needed to be open, warm, gentle, and nourishing. For me, bringing my fearful self back home was bringing God home.

I was not complete without that part of me. And it came home.

I am a father, and a husband and a brother, and a son and friend. I don’t wish to survive without truly living, and I can’t do that if I am incomplete and so distant from this missing part of me. Since it could not feel safe with me, it was always looking for others, for another place to call home. It made me restless and unhappy.

I welcomed my frail and fearful self; I received it home.  This was painful and difficult.  I tried to console it, whisper to it, tell it my stories, hear the other side of me, show where I was still fragile.

Gradually, I became one, felt whole, and found that my God was living in my heart, offering me all that I needed.



  1. This is a very moving story, not everyone feels these emotions in life,Some people are so sheltered and blessed they never have these experiences .
    To experience loss is never easy but it shows us to be more compassionate toward other people.
    Life is a journey and lessons learned along the way.

  2. Beautifully expressed. So good to hear of you going through this journey. I’m enjoying your essays. Thanks for sharing.

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