“A child on a farm sees a plane fly overhead and dreams of a faraway place. A traveler on the plane sees the farmhouse . . . and dreams of home” (Carl Burns).
IF OUR LANGUAGE HAS ANY MAGICAL WORDS IN IT, “HOME” IS SURELY ONE OF THEM. Few can say the word thoughtfully and remained unmoved. But if the homes from which we came are important to us, the mothers who made those homes shouldn’t be forgotten. Fathers matter too, of course, but if it’s patriarchs who beget families, it’s matriarchs who make homes. And with the approach of Mother’s Day, we ought to be thinking of generous ways to say “thank you.”
Modern mothers, unfortunately, are often seduced into believing that “home” is not as important a concept as their grandmothers thought it was. To the great detriment of our culture and our civilization, too many good women have come to think of childbearing and child-nurturing as inconvenient obstacles that stand between them and the happiness they deserve “out there.” Modern fathers are not without their own share of blame, to be sure, but there’s a special sense in which the loss of a motherly presence in our homes is tragic. I’ll go so far as to say this: a home can more easily survive the loss of Dad’s presence than it can Mom’s, and Moms these days need to be honestly confronting the extent to which their absence is voluntary.
But one of the wonderful virtues of this thing that we call “home” is how resilient it is. None of us had homes that were perfect, but despite that fact, most of us can look back with a good deal of gratitude. Somehow we survived the mistakes that were made, and now it’s nourishing to remember the environment where we got our start. It’s not often possible to “go back home,” at least physically, but it’s a mighty good thing to go back home emotionally every chance we get. Those who get “above their raising,” so to speak, lose many of the best things in life. So we need to reconnect with our origins, however humble they may have been. We have to go forward in this world; that’s just the way life works. But the time will surely come, if it hasn’t already, when our hearts will need to go back home . . . for a visit.
“I have come back again to where I belong; not an enchanted place, but the walls are strong” (Dorothy H. Rath).