women of a certain age are like sunflowers; they know how to turn their faces to the sun.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


"When I think of home, I think of a place
Where there's love overflowing
I wish I was home, I wish I was back there
With the things I've been knowing
Wind that makes the tall grass bend into leaning
Suddenly the raindrops that fall have a meaning
Sprinkling the scene makes it all clean"

from The Wiz, music & lyrics by Charlie Smalls

When my boys were small, I got into the habit of saying, "Home again; home again" as I pulled into our garage. And like the properly trained children they were (HAH!) they chimed in from the back seat with, "Jigitty Jig!"

It was but one of the many family rituals we performed.

When asked "What did you do at school today?" if the answer was art (or gym), someone would inevitably respond brightly, "Oh! And how is Art (Jim) doing these days?" When one of us claimed, "I'm hungry" the correct answer was clearly, "How do you do Hungry? I'm Susan."

When on vacation, we opined, "If it's cheap, it's cheery. If it's free, it's fun!" a hand-me-down from my father. When at home, we said goodnight with Eskimo kisses & bear hugs.

First ornaments on the tree at Christmas were always new: one for each child. And new pajamas always made an appearance just in time for bed on Christmas eve, to ensure sweet Christmas dreams.

We hold hands around the table when we say grace before each meal. We give books at every occasion. We think parsley is an underutilized herb that could have many more practical applications than just serving as a plate garnish (don't ask). and we are inordinately fond of the number 12 (long story).

Last night's "Glee" episode was about home, but more than home as a place. It was really about home as a state of being. The hour closed with the song quoted above: "Home" from the Broadway musical, The Wiz. Dorothy sings it at the emotional climax of the show, as she clicks her heels three times...

What makes home...home?

Home is where everybody knows your name. Home is where we run to. Home is sweet. Home is safe. Home is the place there's no place like. Home is where we hang our hearts - right next to where we hang our hats. Home is where we are most true.

Every one of us is born with an innate desire to find home. Just as surely as homing pigeons.

I believe it is an echo of our longing for God.

Reread the lyrics and compare them to this passage from The Lord of the Rings. These are Gandalf's words to Pippin at the battle for Minas Tirith, when Pippin states, "I didn't think it would end this way."

Gandalf responds: "End? No, the journey doesn't end here. Death is just another path. One that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back and all turns to silver glass. And then you see it."

"What, Gandalf?" Pippin asks. "See what?"

The camera is close in on Gandalf's face now. His eyes shine with a look akin to wondrous mirth, and a smile seems to break at the corners of his mouth and eyes. "White shores," he replies in a slow but steady voice. He turns his head to look away from Pippin, seeming to gaze into a distance just off-camera, where we cannot see: "And beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise."

Home is where we belong. Whether that is heaven, church, or house in the suburbs; a close knit family, a circle of friends, or our own inner peace. Home is where we rest our weary heads and dare to close our eyes, knowing we can trust our environment.

Families, friendships, relationships, places (even our interactions on the Internet) have their own traditions, sayings, habits, & inside jokes.These are rituals, as surely as the sacramental acts found in any church.

And just like the rituals performed in church, they mark us as members, as part of a community, as family.

They are the bread and wine of life, initiating us into the fraternity of humankind, the communion of souls. They are the glue that binds us and the lodestone that brings us...

home at last.

And now a side note to my husband of thirty-onederful years today, who has always held & sheltered me from life's storms as best he can and braved them with me when they cannot be avoided:

I am so blessed to have you in my life: someone who not only let's me be me, but actively encourages it, in the truest sense of the word. You give me the courage to be me.

I love you more today than that candle-lit night we first said, "I do." I did, I do, and I always will.

Wherever we go, whatever life brings, as long as we are together, I am always home.


Tammy said...

Congratulations, what a wonderful home for you and your husband. 30 years, I aspire to that.

Donna Lee said...

Happy Anniversary.

For me, home is where my family is. No matter where that is geographically, when we're together, that's home.

Gertrude Stein said "Home is the place that when you go there, they have to take you in".

Home is the feeling of peace and contentment that you get pulling into your own driveway.

Strickmuse said...

What a wonderful entry. I think a lot about the meaning of 'home'. We have moved so many times as kids, and later with my own family, over 3 continents and sometimes when I am really down or sad I feel like I want to go home and then I think, where is home?

Anonymous said...

Wow. Just discovered this blog (through Ravelry publicity link for FoTR patterns, which I just purchased/subscribed) and what a beautiful and moving entry to initiate me into the world of "A Few Stitches Short"!

First of all, congratulations on 30 years of marriage. Seems to be a rarity nowadays, sadly.

Secondly, thank you for sharing your thoughts on the meaning of "home". And such a lovely passage from Tolkien's work. Most fitting.

For me, I think it all boils down to "home is where the heart is". Heard that when I was very young and it has stuck.

I look forward to following this blog and discovering your creative genius! From a first glance's perspective, many treasures await me! Especially anything LoTR related. ;o)


anxiousknitter said...

Congratulations on your anniversary! Sadly it's a milestone many marriages won't see. It's a testament to you and your husband - one I sincerely hope to meet. My husband and I will see our 17th anniversary this year and I can't wait to see what the next 13 years bring us!

I really loved your thoughts on home...so apropos. Home means something special to each one of us and where ever we happen to be in life, we'll always long for it when we're not there :)

And, I really enjoy your LoTR analogies!

Thank you for sharing your day!