The Dancing Puritan

Saturday, August 17, 2013

So Far Away

Carole King

So far away;
Doesn't anybody stay in one place anymore?
It would be so fine to see your face at my door.
Doesn't help to know, you're just time away.

Long ago I reached for you and there you stood
Holding you again would only do me good
Oh how I wish I could but you're so far away

Carole King's album, Tapestry, is one of the most successful and important pop albums of all time. It was originally produced in 1971 and all of the songs were either written or co-written by King. Her song, So Far Away, may have been written about a break-up, but the lyrics speak powerfully to the transient nature of our society and could apply to being separated from a friend or family member. Of course when she wrote the song, people separated by even a relatively short distance, seemed to be even further apart. The ancient 70's were before Skype, email, texting and cell-phones.  Today friends that are a world away seem closer than they are, via technology. Yet, we know, that there is nothing like face to face communication with our family and friends.

Not many people remain in one place for very long, it seems. The days of living in the town of one's birth, and putting down roots in one place, and often with one job for a lifetime, are long past.  I have often wondered what the world would look like if everyone returned to the hometown of his or her childhood?  Can you imagine the radical change of landscape?

I am feeling a bit nostalgic this morning because we are about to move another daughter to college. She won't be far away in miles but it will be different here at home. She won't be just upstairs. I won't often hear her laughter or see her returning after running a few miles. Somehow, overnight, she got older. She joins her two sisters before her that have moved to the next point in their journey. And though they are still in our home, they are, in many ways, far away from the little girls that I once held. Such is life. We raise our children to live without us and hope that they will not forget us in our old age.

Long ago, I reached for you and there you stood
Holding you again could only do me good
Oh, how I wish I could
But you're so far away

One more song about movin' along the highway
I can't say much of anything that's new
But if I could only work this life out my way
I'd rather spend it being close to you

While our children are at home we reach for them, and there they are. We hold them and they (sometimes) squeeze back. Suddenly, just-like-that, they are far away. Perhaps it is college, the military, or marriage that claims them. We are glad. We want to help them start their new journey. We will be praying for and cheering them along as they travel down new highways. However, we want to hold them again, we wish that we could, but they are so far away.

Then one day they come knocking at the door. We open the door and reach out. We hold them, take the baby, and hug their spouse. They have come home, but only for a while. Soon they will again be so far away. Three little girls (thirteen years old and younger) are asleep, just a couple of rooms from where I write. Just a few days from now, it seems, I will walk into their rooms, but they will be so far away.