Thursday, April 2, 2009

Songs about Home

Have you ever noticed how many songs there are about home?:

Homeward Bound (Simon & Garfunkel)
I wish I was, Homeward bound,
Home where my thought's escaping,
Home where my music's playing,
Home where my love lies waiting
Silently for me.

Take Me Home, Country Roads
I hear her voice in the morning hour she calls me
The radio reminds me of my home far away
And driving down the road I get a feeling
That I should have been home yesterday, yesterday

Can't Find my Way Home (Steve Windwood)
You are the reason I've been waiting so long
Somebody holds the key
Well, I'm near the end and I just aint got the time
And I'm wasted and I cant find my way home

Green, Green Grass of Home (Tom Jones)
It's good to touch the green, green grass of home.
Yes, they'll all come to meet me,
arms reaching, smiling sweetly.
It's good to touch the green, green grass of home.

Home (Chris Daughtry)
I'm going home,
Back to the place where I belong,
And where your love has always been enough for me.
I'm not running from.
No, I think you got me all wrong.
I don't regret this life I chose for me.
But these places and these faces are getting old.
So I'm going home.I'm going home

I know there's many, many more songs about home. But, really -- what is this mysteriously place we call home? I don't really buy that old expression "Home is where the heart is" unless the Holy Spirit has taken up residence within that heart. And even then, there is a longing for this seemingly unattainable peace, this distant memory just beyond my reach where I am safe from harm.

I mentioned in yesterday's post that I am originally from Virginia. My family also lived in Charlotte, NC. Of the three places I have called my home, I spent the least amount of time there. So, why do I long for that home? What is it about that place? I think I've finally figured it out. It has nothing to do with the place. It has to do with the circumstances. This is where I lived with my intact, traditional family shortly before everything went to sh*t. A house where I felt safe and protected -- and even that was an illusion that would soon come crashing down. I used to sneak into my big sister's room and listen to this song on her record player, which is my very favorite "Home" song:


"Sometimes I wonder if I'm ever gonna make it home again. It's so far and out of sight. I won't be happy until I see you alone again. Till I'm home again and feeling right. I want to be home again and feeling right."

I want my children to grow up in a place where they feel protected, cherished and loved --knowing full well that a home here on earth is an illusion. God created us with a longing for our eternal home. Whether or not a person buys into that explanation doesn't change the reality that within each of us that longing resides. In "The Weight of Glory", C. S. Lewis writes:

In speaking of this desire for our own far off country, which we find in ourselves even now, I feel a certain shyness. I am almost committing an indecency. I am trying to rip open the inconsolable secret in each one of you—the secret which hurts so much that you take your revenge on it by calling it names like Nostalgia and Romanticism and Adolescence; the secret also which pierces with such sweetness that when, in very intimate conversation, the mention of it becomes imminent, we grow awkward and affect to laugh at ourselves; the secret we cannot hide and cannot tell, though we desire to do both. We cannot tell it because it is a desire for something that has never actually appeared in our experience. We cannot hide it because our experience is constantly suggesting it, and we betray ourselves like lovers at the mention of a name.

Our commonest expedient is to call it beauty and behave as if that had settled the matter. Wordsworth’s expedient was to identify it with certain moments in his own past. But all this is a cheat. If Wordsworth had gone back to those moments in the past, he would not have found the thing itself, but only the reminder of it; what he remembered would turn out to be itself a remembering. The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing.

These things—the beauty, the memory of our own past—are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshippers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.

Do you think I am trying to weave a spell? Perhaps I am; but remember your fairy tales. Spells are used for breaking enchantments as well as for inducing them. And you and I have need of the strongest spell that can be found to wake us from the evil enchantment of worldliness which has been laid upon us for nearly a hundred years. Almost our whole education has been directed to silencing this shy, persistent, inner voice; almost all our modem philosophies have been devised to convince us that the good of man is to be found on this earth. And yet it is a remarkable thing that such philosophies of Progress or Creative Evolution themselves bear reluctant witness to the truth that our real goal is elsewhere. When they want to convince you that earth is your home, notice how they set about it. They begin by trying to persuade you that earth can be made into heaven, thus giving a sop to your sense of exile in earth as it is. Next, they tell you that this fortunate event is still a good way off in the future, thus giving a sop to your knowledge that the fatherland is not here and now.

Finally, lest your longing for the transtemporal should awake and spoil the whole affair, they use any rhetoric that comes to hand to keep out of your mind the recollection that even if all the happiness they promised could come to man on earth, yet still each generation would lose it by death, including the last generation of all, and the whole story would be nothing, not even a story, for ever and ever.

This is not our home. As my Aunt Phyliss might say, "Sugar, our home is Way Over Yonder


For the record, I'm the younger sister, not the one holding the cat. That cat hated me. This might have something to do with the fact that I dressed him in Baby Tender Love dresses and forced him into my toy baby stroller. I suppose I'll never know for sure...

13 comments:

BeckeyZ said...

Awesome post!!!

I have been "waxing poetic" lately about times gone by.

Granted, my childhood was far from ideal. In fact, we could have been the model for dysfunction before that term was popular, but I do have some good memories that are definitely worth hanging onto.

My "home" or house I grew up in, is just a block away from me now, but I am almost uncomfortable in it now. I'm getting old.


(I deleted my first post because of a spelling error)

sherri said...

Can you imagine if I deleted all my comments due to spelling errors like Becky?

I have fond memories of my childhood and my parents still live in the same home where I grew up.

I feel most loved when I'm there- still, to this day.

I do believe that longing is within all of us, but will not be totally fulfilled until we are HOME, "over yonder".

sherri said...

Did you guys normally just hang your instruments on the wall?

In case you suddenly decided to break out into a bluegrass song?

If so, cool.

katdish said...

Gold guitars and banjos are the high brow cousins of the giant fork and spoon.

Helen said...

Kathy, this was beautiful. I was blessed to have my parents together, and they were very loving and protective, but even they couldn't shield me from the hurts others would inflict on me daily. I choose to dwell on the good, but found the Lewis quote very moving, because it is true....if I could go back to those times, I wouldn't find the peace that i find in my memories..(that is kind of what he said, at least partly, right)
Very moving. I am glad I didn't stop in the middle to make comments that were silly songs with the word "Home" in the title.

Beth said...

Wow, that's a beautiful passage. So true. Lewis rocks. I can't imagine writing something that is just as powerful even after a few generations go by.

It's kind of the essence of what I got out of "The Sacred Romance," too. We all have an ache that won't be completely filled until heaven. That thought really does help me on "down" days...at least I know we're all kind of messed up like that.

Anyway, in a few months my parents are going to be moving from the house they have lived in since I was 6. It will be weird not to go back there and makes me sad, but I'm really happy that my parents are starting on a new "adventure" of sorts. And they'll be living a little closer to me!

jasonS said...

What a great post. You're right people don't realize it, but this is what they long for. We have to show the real Jesus...

Marni said...

I didn't enjoy my childhood really. It was tense and painful and confusing. My parents divorced. If that wasn't sufficiently painful, they each remarried other people and I always felt like when I would enjoy the company of my new step parent, I was cheating on my biological parent. My mom almost wanted me to forget my dad existed so we could be this one big happy family with my step dad and new sister, but that wasn't reasonable. I even had a different last name than my mom and sister. It just made me feel left out and alone. That doesn't rule over me anymore because God's grace is sufficient.

I've taken that broken past and used it for the glory of God. I pray over my marriage and my intact family all the time. I want my girls to be in a home where they feel safe, loved, and are daily taught, and more importantly, shown lives sold out to Jesus Christ.

This was a great post Kathy. Incidentally, my favorite "home songs" are U2's A Sort of Homecoming and Who Says You Can't Go Home by Sugarland and Jon Bon Jovi (grrrr baby, grrrrr!!)

Oh and thank you for breaking spades and outing yourself as someone who acknowledges John Denver songs. I heart his music. If that makes me a dork, it is as it is...

Billy Coffey said...

This...is...fantastic.

Now more than ever, we need good homes for our families. Places of refuge in a world that is slowly going insane. A lot depends on that, I think.

C.S. Lewis is my favorit author. But I think you said this better.

katdish said...

Thanks, guys.

Marni - Maybe that's why I feel such a connection to you - I somehow knew that in many ways we must come from the same kind of pain. And if digging John Denver is wrong, I don't want to be right. That was another album I used to play on my sister's record player. We weren't high falootin' or anything - it was just a record player - not one of those stereos with the fancy 8 track player included.

Billy - My writing is not even worthy to be mentioned in the same sentence as Lewis, or yours for that matter. But thank you anyway. That was a huge compliment.

JML said...

Few words conjure up the the same images and memories that the word "home" does. Great post. I love C.S. Lewis. If I could be a mix between him and Mark Driscoll, I could take over the world! Not really. Anyways, I bet you're a wonderful mother. That probably sounds random, but I'm young enough that the parentals still mean a lot to me (not that that changes, but I still FEEL like a kid around them). I work with a lot of people who are older than I am (not necessarily by much) but I hang out with moms and dads at my work, and you remind me of my good work mom for some reason. I'm babbling, but it makes me smile. Anyways, great post!!! :)

Stacey said...

Thanks, katdish. I really enjoyed this post. I've been incredibly homesick lately, and sometimes being 3 hours away feels like 30 hours.

I can relate to what you wrote, and to Marni's comment as well. There is a part of me that longs for "home" even though my home life was far from ideal. Alcoholic/womanizing father, affair, divorce, strange step parents, unpleasant visitation weekends, no child support, feeling like you no longer belong in your own family; it's a lot to handle for anyone, much less a 7 year old child.

For my sister and for me (and perhaps you can relate to this), there has been joy in breaking that cycle. Somehow, by God's grace, we've been determined to make better lives for ourselves and for our children, should I ever have that opportunity. We've even brought some joy back into going home now that we are adults.

Anyway, thanks for this post and sorry I'm late reading it. Very good stuff! Love me some C.S. Lewis (and katdish)!

katdish said...

Jake - I think sometimes you think I don't know what you're talking about, even though I almost always completely understand where you're coming from. And that makes me smile.

Stacey - Thanks, girl. I love me some Stacey, too. Even if you are an axe murderer.