One of the most interesting books that I have read in recent years has been Sela Ward’s book, Homesick. A native of Meridian, Mississippi, Sela graduated from Meridian High School and attended the University of Alabama where she was elected a cheerleader and homecoming queen. She later embarked upon a career as an actress in Hollywood that brought her fortune and fame. However, following the tragic events of 9/11 and the death of her mother, Sela started thinking about life and yearning to go back home to Meridian.
In the opening paragraph to her book, Sela writes, “This is a story of a gentle girl reared in the Deep South, cradled by family and friends, worshiping Bear Bryant on Saturday afternoon and Jesus Christ on Sunday morning, savoring sweet tea and porch swings, corn bread and courtesy, all of the tender mercies of a Mississippi childhood. When I have been thrown out of balance by life in Los Angeles, I have thought of the line from that old gospel song, ‘Come home, come home, ye who are weary come home.’ Well, I am weary and miss home. This is the story of a prodigal daughter who finally understood how much she loved her southern home. I yearn for a string of lazy afternoons on the front porch of our farm cottage, a glass of sweet tea in my hand, with nothing to do but watch the dragonflies light on the nickel silver surface of the pond. I need to hear once again the sound of a late summer rain on a tin roof, and a sweet chorus of crickets and bullfrogs at sunset. I need to have the waitress at the Waffle House ask me, ‘Do you want grits with that, honey?’ Because I need all of these things just as much as I need the air to breathe, I’m headed south again toward home. I want to go home to a quieter, gentler, and unhurried life. I want to maintain a connection with the people I love, where I can put my feet up and thank God.”
Have you every yearned to go back home, physically or spiritually, to the church of your childhood and hear, like Sela Ward, those familiar words of Softly and Tenderly? “Come home, come home, earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling, ye who are weary come home.” A wise theologian once said, “If you do not feel as close to God today as you once did, make no mistake about which one of you has moved."