by Fanning Yater Tant
Gospel Guardian, October 13, 1955
The summer's work has ended. After a long and lonely absence, I am going back to Texas. Only a few hours ago I was speaking to a house filled with people in Sunnyvale, California. Now it is shortly after midnight, and I am nearly three miles above the Mojave Desert, flying almost six miles per minute in the direction of—home! There are eighty‑one of us in this monster of the skies, five crewmembers, and seventy‑six passengers. We left Oakland airport an hour ago and will set down at Love Field in Dallas about daybreak. One brief stop there to change planes, and by the middle of the morning, I shall be home.
There are few words in any language that have the power to grip the heart and stir emotions as does the word "home." All that is sacred and holy, all that is tender and loving clusters around the word. The memories of childhood, the smiles, and tears of youthful years, the security of love and devotion, the hallowed associations of the past are wrapped up in the word. In early years home is the place of mother and father, perhaps brothers and sisters; in later years home is the place of husband or wife, and perhaps children. Bereft indeed is that poor soul who has no home. But infinitely more wretched is he who has never had a home!
Surely it is not without cause that Christ has pictured to us the Christian relationship in terms of home and family. God is our Father; we are his children. Christ is our brother, and we are brethren one to another. It was not to the Ephesians alone, but to all the faithful of every age that Paul wrote, "So then ye are no more strangers and sojourners, but ye are fellow‑citizens with the saints, and of the household of God" (Ephesians 2:19).
Now we are over Nevada. The pulsing roar of the four mighty engines seems to make this leviathan of the air a living creature. The stars in the sky as I look out my window are big and luminous. Most of the passengers are sleeping. But I cannot sleep. I have been gone too long. The eagerness of "going home" is too great. Here and there I can make out the dim, crawling light of an automobile on the desert floor, thousands of feet below. There are not many, and they seem to move at a snail's pace. Perhaps some of these people are going home, too. The same eagerness and anticipation that fills my heart may be theirs. Likely it is so. For we are all of us cut from the same cloth. Our needs, our hopes, our fears, and our joys are pretty much of a pattern. And the God who made us knows what is best for us. He has made provision with loving and infinite care.
Mile after mile slips by in the darkness below. And every mile brings me closer home. Already we are in Arizona, and then we shall sail through the star‑studded skies of New Mexico, and on into Texas. My thoughts are nostalgic as we cross the miles. It was to New Mexico (Alamogordo, and then Hope) that my father brought his family when I was still too young to go to school — more than forty years ago. Indeed, my earliest memories are not of Tennessee, the state of my birth, but of the wild grandeur of the Sacramento Mountains and the then curious, but now famous White Sands. It was here in New Mexico that I had my first acquaintance with death. A beloved sister (oldest in the family) had stayed in Tennessee with her husband when the rest of us moved west. And now comes the fateful wire that tells us we shall see her face no more. My father does not weep; he can not. His misery is beyond tears. As I sit in this plane, high in the heavens, I can see him once again at his table upstairs, writing, writing, writing, endlessly writing. I approach to ask him about Davis, but I can not speak for the aching lump in my throat. He raises his head and sees me standing there in childish grief. He puts his pencil down and takes me up into his lap — a rare thing indeed for him, for he was a man of deep emotions, but inarticulate and undemonstrative concerning them. Finally, I realize he is weeping, and of course, I weep too. He speaks one brief word, "Your sister has gone home to live with God."
Home! It won't be long now. It will only be a few hours until I sit at my desk and try to type down the thoughts that fill my heart at this moment. And it will only be a few years until I see once again those dear faces in that eternal home, where sorrow and death can never come. My honored sire has slept these fourteen years beneath the blue skies and bright stars of Texas He died in the Lord, and it was of such as he that John was told to write, "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth: yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; for their works follow with them" (Revelation 14:13). He has gone home. After the turmoil and strife of "life's fitful fever" have ended, what more blessed and glorious thought than to know that one is "going home."
And here is Dallas. Ever so gently the huge ship touches the earth. Thus far the journey has been safely accomplished. Only a few more miles now. And then, home. Is it possible that I am even closer to that heavenly home than to the familiar scenes of my own frame cottage? God knows. Any one of us may at any given moment be only one heart‑beat from eternity — an eternal home with God, or banishment forever from his presence. There is something terrifying about that, and yet something infinitely thrilling. May God grant to all of us that when our eyes shall close in death we may take that sweetest of all journeys — the path that leads to home.