“I have to go home every so often to get my bearings;
otherwise I lose my marbles.”
In the next two posts I will share some select quotes, mine and others’, on the subject of home, which I call the most beautiful word in the English language.
These posts include many quotations that were part of my lesson plans for a Sunday school class called “The Spirituality of Home” that I once taught at Trinity Episcopal Church in Tulsa. In both posts I have inserted short portions of the lyrics of a few songs on the subject of home with links to them.
At the end of this post is a quote of the lyrics of a song titled “Far Away” from the movie All the Pretty Horses that summarizes my message in this first post. There is also a link to that song being sung by Marty Stuart who wrote it. I hope you will read the words and listen to the song because it reflects my feelings about my thirty-five-year exile from my beloved and sorely missed home state of Arkansas.
As always, my comments inserted into the quotes are set in brackets, and my comments outside of quotes are set in parentheses. Emphasis is indicated by italics.
Some Quotes about Home
“Home is where you don’t have an accent.”
“Home is where you are surrounded by the people and things you love.”
“Home is that place where you belong, where you fit in, where you are at ease, where you are fully yourself.”
“Home is the place you don’t want to leave; or if you do leave, home is that place you always come back to.”
“Home is where you end up back where you started.”
“Home is where everything is put back the way it was—or at least the way it should have been.” (Entered on May 18, 2001, when our son Sean called to say that he was back in Tigerville, SC, where we lived when he was in kindergarten exactly thirty years earlier.)
“Home is where they take you to bury you.”
“Hell is a vision of heaven (home) with no way of reaching it.” (I ought to know!)
“For me home is seven hours away as the crow flies but only a moment away as the Peacock cries.” (I say that a Peacock is just a turkey with an attitude, but I sometimes think I am less of a Peacock and more of a homing pigeon.)
“When I die, I want to will my heart to science because if I go into heaven with it in me, I will never be happy.” (Heaven is not my home; it’s just my consolation prize for never getting back home. Oklahoma is not my Promised Land—it’s my Purgatory!)
“How can I believe God is going to let me go home to heaven if He won’t let me go home on earth?” (See my earlier post titled “Occupation in Exile, Deliverance in Time.”)
“Someone has said that real life needs a better writer. I agree wholeheartedly. It has become increasingly clear that over the past thirty-five years of exile, labor, misery, struggle, sickness, and pain God has been building up my life story to reach a tremendous climax by my long-awaited return home. The problem about it is that I won’t be alive to enjoy it—or to write about it. What an ironic and sad conclusion for a writer!”
Home is: “(1) One’s dwelling place; abode of one’s family . . . (3) The abiding place of the affections . . . (4) One’s native land or place. Adv.: (3) . . . the place where it belongs . . .”
—Webster’s II New College Dictionary
“Home is where you hang your childhood.”
—Tennessee Williams, Mississippi playwright
“Home is anywhere you’re with family.”
—Advertisement from the American Plastics Council,
“Home is that place where, when you go there, they have to take you in.”
“Home is where the heart is.”
“Home is where the great are small and the small are great.”
“Home is where one starts from. . . . We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”
—T. S. Eliot, Four Quartets
“Home is just a frame of mind.”
—Sandra Cox, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, nd
“The quest of every life, whether realized or not, is to get back home.”
“Nostalgia—from Greek for ‘pain of returning home’.”
—The Box, “It’s Greek to Us,
Words given to us by the Greeks,” Tulsa World, nd
“A time to be sowing,
A time to be reaping,
A time just for being,
A place for to die.
“T’was so good to be young then,
To be close to the earth.
Now the green leaves of summer
Are calling me home.”
–The Brothers Four, “The Green Leaves of Summer,” from the John Wayne movie The Alamo, which Mari and I first saw at a drive-in theater in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, while attending Ouachita Baptist College in the summer of 1962.
(To hear this song sung by the Brothers Four, whom Mari and I listened to during our courtship and early marriage, click here.)
“Sweet is the smile of home; the mutual look when hearts of each other are sure.”
“I’m s’glad to git back down home whur they call it a bush-hawg [and not a brush-hahg].”
—My cousin from Selma on returning from graduation
from agri school at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville
“There are a number of things wrong with Washington. One of them is that everyone is too far from home.”
—Dwight Eisenhower, quoted in the Tulsa World, March 8, 2009
“One reason Elvis was so successful is because he never got too far from his roots [or never strayed too far from home].”
“You never know what events are going to transpire to get you home.”
—Astronaut Jim Lovell in Apollo 11
“If you have faith as small as a mustard seed . . . Nothing will be impossible for you.”
“Handy thing to know, how to find your way home.”
—Cousin Sook in “A Christmas Memory” by Truman Capote
(The three previous quotations are stuck to my computer—as a daily reminder.)
“All water has a perfect memory and is forever trying to get back to where it was [i.e., back home].” (Is it any wonder then that I have been trying for thirty-five years to get back to the Mississippi River—the Father of Waters?)
—Toni Morrison, Today’s Cryptoquote,
Tulsa World, December 7, 2009
“Thirty years is a long time, long enough to round off hard faces and pad cheekbones.” (And thirty-five years is more than long enough to destroy every vestige of my physical, mental, and emotional health—to say nothing of my spiritual health, my hope and faith!)
—Philip Martin, “You can go home again,
but it’s never going to be the same as you remember,”
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, nd
“If ‘home’ is a place where I grew up, I am marooned, because the old landscapes are gone. The house is still there on a quiet, dead-end street, but all of the neighbors are gone.” (I know what it is like to be “marooned”—exiled, banished, forsaken—in a place that is not home, while the real home disappears!)
—Joyce Madelon Winslow, “Home for the holidays?
For some of us, it’s but a faint memory,”
USA Today, November 24, 1999
“Find solace in things that are culturally connected, not politically connected. Music or literature can bring you back to your cultural roots, taking your mind to another place—which is home, in a sense. Music has that inherent quality to soothe and transport you. It is something to ease the pain [of exile].” (That’s why I still listen to Southern gospel, country music, fifties rock and roll and “Forever Plaid”-type “guy quartets,” the blues, etc., and singers like Elvis Presley, Ray Charles, Brenda Lee, Tennessee Ernie Ford, the Statler Brothers, the Oak Ridge Boys, etc.)
—Andy Garcia, Cuban born actor
“I’m trying to teach my children the lessons I learned [at home] . . . genuineness, belonging, caring about others. Treat[ing] people as valuable in themselves, not for what they can do for you.”
—Actress Sela Ward on her reason for returning
to her hometown of Meridian, MS,
in “Sela Ward: Where I’m from,”
Parade magazine, Sunday, January 23, 2011
“All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.”
—Anatole France, quoted in
Sapulpa Daily Herald, March 4, 2009
“Fields are deathly silent,
Where the cotton used to grow.
I’m a stranger in a land
That I used to know.
In a land, a land I’ve not forgotten,
“Everything has changed here,
Except some things inside of me.
I’ve hid ’em from the world,
Under lock and key.
“Like the sound of my mama’s voice,
Calling me back home
To the place
Where I belong,
“Don’t know why I left you,
And look how long I’ve stayed.
How’d I get so far away?
“Carved my name one Sunday morning
On a sweet magnolia tree,
I cried when I walked away,
It broke my heart to leave.
“Took that little piece of me
And put it in my pocket.
I’ve lost myself a time or two,
But I never once forgot it.
“Don’t know why I left you,
And look how long I’ve stayed.
How’d I get so far away?”
Note: This subject will be continued and completed in the next post.