Sunday, July 3, 2011
Meanderings about home on the fourth of July
America is full of personal stories of journeys toward the place where we feel safe or at home. None of the stories are without hardship. None of the stories exist in an Edenic setting where we fail to touch others with our own evil or they touch us with theirs. My childhood was partly spent traveling between Missouri and California as my mother and father sought for their own personal place-a place they never found.
In the end what they really wanted, in their dreams, was to live in the Ozarks and spend their time fishing and reading Zane Grey westerns. They would have surrounded themselves with family and friends, with stories and jokes, with dancing and hand holding. But it was not to be.
My littlest sister, Elizabeth, who said goodbye to one parent when she was nine and to the other when she was eleven, wrote a poem about her loss, “Trying to Remember.” I love the last verse because it speaks to a whole line of people who were always facing the West with wind in their faces and hope in their heart and mind.
We take what we can—a bright shell
Filled with sand, a witness to tell
our children’s children of bone knit
within a landscape of parched men
and flowered women bending into a wind
made, in the dusk, by your spreading spirit.
But back to home and the way to Eden. There is no return but something better—a place, forever with the eternal God who because of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ nestles us into an eternal home and an eternal peace. Funny we dance our ways through the byways of too many worldly disappointments seeking such a place. And in the end if we receive the King of the universe, we find, as C.S. Lewis said, “many pleasant inns” here, and a home overflowing with the love of our Lord.
I started writing this with the intention of honoring Americans who in one way or another have helped to hand down a nation which so far has given the world a picture of what freedom means. And as I said at the beginning, there is never a perfect journey, not even that of a nation. And prayer must be made that her journey will turn neither ugly or sordid.
So in an attempt to cover all of my meandering, a song and video put together by Beanscot.