Driving to my biannual dental cleaning this morning I was listening to the beautiful harmonies of the Voices of Lee. “It is well” played, I love that one and started it over twice, the Lord’s Prayer was next and I prayed it as they sang, then a song came on that sent my mind into a little bit of a tailspin of remembrance. “Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling, calling for you and for me…” I already knew what the message of the song is, “Come home, come home, ye who are weary come home. Earnestly tenderly Jesus is calling, calling oh sinner come home.” As they sang my mind left the present and I was in the living room, bedroom, any place my mother was in the last year of her life and she was saying, “I want to go home. Why won’t you take me home? Mama and daddy are looking for me and they don’t know where I am. Please take me home. Is someone coming to get me to take me home?” My heart would feel broken, as at first I would try to explain to her that she was at her home. Later on I realized the best way to deal with it was to just say, “I will take you in the morning soon as the sun is shining outside, we don’t want to travel in the dark.” Or “I have called them and they will be here in a little while.” She was remembering a time and place that no longer existed, there is a word for that, it is “hiraeth”, a Welsh word which means: a homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, a home which maybe never was, the nostalgia, the yearning, the grief for the lost places of your past.
There are many songs written about going home, missing home, “Oh I wanna go home” and on and on, so what’s that about anyway? Were we all such happy children that we want to relive our youth and childhood? Are we tired of “adulting” and want to revert to a time we were being taken care of? And when an older person talks about wanting to go home I think they are talking about dying and going to their heavenly home. My dad used to tell me that there were more “over there” than there was here, he felt like he and my mother were alone as far as their peers were concerned. I would tell him that he was here for me because I needed him, he would smile and nod, but the far-away look in his eye never went away once he decided he really was ready to go.
Some of us have had good lives but others have had misery and unhappiness and death seems to be a better solution than trying to make it one more day. Christians sing, “Some glad morning when this life is o’er I’ll fly away”, or “Take me home, take me home, never more to roam”, another good one is, “I see the lights of that city so bright, my home sweet home.” Isaiah 25:8 offers us the hope of a happier time to come, “Yes, he’ll banish death forever. And God will wipe the tears from every face. He’ll remove every sign of disgrace from his people, wherever they are. Yes! God says so!”
We all have times of feeling depressed, or nostalgic and wishing for a time when things were more simple and happier but realistically we have to live our life day by day. I’m thinking that, like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, we are all really saying, “There’s no place like home…”