Holiness in Our Midst: Session 50

Holiness in our Midst


STORY CIRCLE PROMPT: Where is your “home place?” Is it the house you grew up in? Can you still visit it? What makes it meaningful?

Early last month, October 2016, I would have said that my “home place,” of course, was the house I grew up in. It could be found east of Nevada, IA, by turning north off Lincoln Highway onto Story County Road S27. First you looked for the third farmstead on the east side of the road. Tucked next to a big white home was my place, a small two-story frame house with a brown faux brick exterior and a stone foundation. I always thought of it as a cottage.

I reference past tense because I came across it on Oct. 18 in the middle of a controlled burn. On a random mid-day drive through the countryside, I was stunned to see smoke rising from my childhood home. The next day, I drove by again; the smoldering ruins and what was left of the foundation were being bulldozed and buried. The following day, fresh dirt covered the area. I could see the milk house through the trees. My landmark, my touchstone to my early years, was simply gone. It held memories of birthdays, Christmases, my first day of school, happy hours roaming the barns and fields. To see it was to be instantly connected to my past.

Lately, “my” house had been used for storage, the owners had said the last time I stopped by to walk the farm. I should have read the signs that its life span was limited. The reality is that I’m left pondering new questions about the whereabouts of my “home place?” Is it the farmstead that still surrounds the empty spot? Is it the farm where my grandparents had lived? Where is “home” when the house I grew up in is gone? It seems my new answers will take some time…


  1. Read the above reflection.
  2. Write about the place that you refer to as your “Home Place.” Is it still standing? What are your most vivid memories of life there? Do you still visit it, or does it only exist in your imagination? Is your “home place” a multitude of locations?


  1.   Read aloud Session L.   

      2.   Ask each person to answer the Story Circle Prompt.

[View Past Sessions Here]

Note: Holiness in Our Midst: Sharing Our Stories to Encourage and Heal is a monthly on-line feature created by Janis Pyle to facilitate sharing of our personal experiences, thoughts, beliefs, and spiritual practices with one another, especially through stories. Barriers are broken down when we begin to see all persons, even those with whom we disagree ideologically, as sacred and constantly attended to by a loving Creator. Each column is accompanied by a “story circle” prompt and study guides for personal and group reflection. To share your stories, contact Hannah Button-Harrison at communications@nplains.org. Janis Pyle can be reached at janispyle@yahoo.com.

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