Stories Behind My Songs: Not Far From Home

One time when my son, Benson, was about three years old, I was up in the night (again) with him for what seemed like the ten thousandth time. He had suffered from severe itchy, fully body, eczema and other health issues, since birth. He continues to struggle, but the first decade of his life was particularly challenging. He would scratch until his skin was raw and wimper and cry during the night needing his mama to cuddle him. We were doing all that the doctors said to do, but it still wasn’t enough to bring him comfort.

A lot of my writing during those years took place with him on my lap at the piano at 3:00am when all I knew to do was sing to him. Before long, his little body would go limp and he’d be sleeping peacefully against my arm as I played.

One particularly difficult night, I laid down in the bottom bunk of his bed, after bathing him and creaming him down, repeating our usual routine. He was still uncomfortable and so tired and restless. I prayed, as I often did when in these desperate moments, and the words to “Not Far From Home” formed with a simple melody that I sang over and over to him until he fell asleep.

Not far from here is a strong hand to guide you.
The closeness of angels is right here beside you;
And though it may seem you are so far from home,
A voice sweetly whispers that you’re not alone.
Not far from home; you’re not far away
And if you listen, you’ll hear someone say…

And after I had sung it a few times, I looked over at him and his long dark eyelashes were finally resting like little brooms on his tear stained cheeks, and he was finally asleep. I tippy-toed out, put on head phones and wrote the next two verses upstairs at the piano before finally heading to bed.

Not far from here is a kind Heavenly Father,
And only your happiness He’s ever longed for.
If your heart is breaking with a load to bear
You can find comfort through simply a prayer
Not far from home; you’re not far away
And if you listen, you’ll hear someone say…

Not far from here is our Brother, dear Savior
And His loving hand is outstretched in your favor
“Come unto me” is His beckon and call;
His peace and His perfect love given to all.
Not far from home; you’re not far away
And if you listen, you’ll hear someone say
“You’re not far from Home”.

Tests and trials in this life are inevitable, but it is reassuring to me, and has been reassuring to Benson, that we are not alone. That angels attend, our Father is never far, and our Savior sustains. We are never far from Home. And though remedies may not come, and though miracles seem impossible, the miracle for us has been finding strength and faith in our Father in Heaven, who knows all, and brings comfort along the way.

“Not Far From Home” – from the album “Thy Healing Hands – Songs of Comfort and Peace”

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