Saturday, April 4, 2009

Homeward Bound

Thursday afternoon I was privileged to attend a graveside ceremony and dedication for the mother of a close friend. I went with the expectation of supporting her as she laid her loved one to rest, but I came away with far more than my presence there could possibly have contributed. What a peaceful, faith-affirming experience it was to stand at the feet of old, established trees, their branches (framed by the brilliant blue sky) responding to Spring's call with the budding green leaves of renewal. Accompanied by the gentle rustling of these leaves, another friend's lovely daughter sang "Homeward Bound," her sweet, clear soprano a simple testament to the eternal nature of life and love and families.

In the quiet misty morning
When the moon has gone to bed,
When the sparrows stop their singing
And the sky is clear and red,
When the summer’s ceased its gleaming,
When the corn is past its prime,
When adventure’s lost its meaning,
I’ll be homeward bound in time.

Bind me not to the pasture;
Chain me not to the plow.
Set me free to find my calling
And I’ll return to you somehow.

If you find it’s me you’re missing,
If you’re hoping I’ll return,
To your thoughts I’ll soon be list’ning,
In the road I’ll stop and turn.
Then the wind will set me racing
As my journey nears its end,
And the path I’ll be retracing
When I’m homeward bound again.

Bind me not to pasture;
Chain me not to the plow.
Set me free to find my calling
And I’ll return to you somehow.

In the quiet misty morning
When the moon has gone to bed,
When the sparrows stop their singing,
I’ll be homeward bound again.
-Lyrics by Marta Keen

The stillness, broken only by the pure, lilting notes of a young girl's voice and punctuated by an occasional gust of wind or burst of birdsong, was exquisite. Words are not sufficient to describe the singular beauty of that afternoon...the friends and family gathered round; the casket, warmed by sun and blanketed with yellow mums, white carnations and daisies; the fragrance and texture of Spring in the air...All of these washed over me and brought with them my own longing for a home I often feel but cannot quite remember.

Inspiring words were spoken and precious memories recounted as everyone in attendance was reminded of a mother's love, the miracle of life itself, the final journey we will all take one day, and the blessings that await us. The gathering came to an end with the singing voice of my friend's long-deceased father, tape recorded many years earlier and played on that quiet afternoon as a invitation to his wife, the mother of his children, to join him on high. In stark contrast to the first musical offering, his tenor broke upon the silence in soaring swells of faith and rolling reminders of forever.

O my Father, thou that dwellest In the high and glorious place,
When shall I regain thy presence
And again behold thy face?
In thy holy habitation,
Did my spirit once reside?
In my first primeval childhood
Was I nurtured near thy side?

For a wise and glorious purpose
Thou hast placed me here on earth
And withheld the recollection
Of my former friends and birth;
Yet ofttimes a secret something
Whispered, “You’re a stranger here,”
And I felt that I had wandered
From a more exalted sphere.

I had learned to call thee Father,
Thru thy Spirit from on high,
But, until the key of knowledge
Was restored, I knew not why.
In the heav’ns are parents single?
No, the thought makes reason stare!
Truth is reason; truth eternal
Tells me I’ve a mother there.

When I leave this frail existence,
When I lay this mortal by,
Father, Mother, may I meet you
In your royal courts on high?
Then, at length, when I’ve completed
All you sent me forth to do,
With your mutual approbation
Let me come and dwell with you.

-Eliza R. Snow

After the service, I was homeward bound, and this was my view. Quite fitting, I believe.

It was an afternoon to remember. And I will.


Our family chaos said...

Sounds like you had an amazing experience. It's nice when you can enjoy lifes little sweet & tender moments.

Fiauna said...

How beautiful. It sounds like it was quite an inspiring service. Thank you for sharing.

Natalie said...

So beautiful.
I have been meaning to ask you a question for weeks you feel that since your husband was extended his calling, you have stepped up onto a new spiritual plane? I think you have. I can feel it in everything you write lately. It's inspiring and uplifting.

Love and hugs to you!!!

KC Mom said...

Thanks for visiting my blog yesterday. These blogs are a great way of connecting with great people aren't they? I see you know my beautiful friend Natalie. She is a gem.

Laretha said...

Hi Sue. Thank you for stopping by my little piece of the blogosphere. Natalie is just precious and I can't wait to meet her in real life one day!

Beautiful blog.

Natalie said...

Thank you for what you wrote Sue. I appreciate it more than you can imagine! Just wish I could give you a huge hug!!

Also, how much did you LOVE Elder Holland's talk?!?! It is officially on my list of VERY special favorites.

Lisa Loo said...

very lovely--thanx for sharing!!

jen said...

Wasn't the version of "O My Father" during conference so wonderful? I felt just like this. Thanks.

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