I saw this post the other day and it got me to thinking about another 500 miles song. This one:
That song, according to Wikipedia, was first recorded in 1961 by the Journeymen. The Kingston Trio did it in 1962. That was probably the more successful one. Then it was done by a host of others including Peter, Paul, and Mary. Wikipedia says the song was probably derived from much older folk songs. One would suspect it came from the depression era when there was a multitude of lost, lonely, far from home, people riding the rails.
I doubt that any of those who recorded this song ever hitched a ride on a freight train. But still they managed to imbue their music with that pain, that emptiness, that longing that infects the lyrics. Folk music, blues, bluegrass, even country music has that ability to bring up that sense of something lost in our lives. The most affluent, the most successful, the happiest of us can be touched by that music.
Why is that? I think it’s because we know deep down that we are far from home, a lot farther that 500 miles. We have a sense of something lost we can’t define. We know there is something in us that yearns for home.
Hebrews 11:9-10 says about Abraham:
By faith he sojourned in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise;
for he waited for a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
We all have that emptiness, that desire, that yearns for something we can’t define. And that yearning will not be satisfied till we are home.