My family has adopted a sort of tradition at weddings as cousin after cousin gets married. We all pack out a hotel and commandeer their courtyard (or at least an outdoor area with someplace to sit). We talk late into the night until everyone’s eyes begin to feel the weight of the starry sky. Then comes out the guitar. It gets passed around from brother, to uncle, to cousin as each person gets the family to all join in singing. Home is where my people are, not where my stuff is: as the family has scattered all over the world to pursue careers and have babies, these hotel courtyards come to embody the meaning of home.
C.S. Lewis liked to use the word “sehnsucht,” which is a German word that doesn’t translate well into English. Simply, it represents an intense longing. That moment when you’re singing loudly with all your loved ones and you know you’re participating in something greater than yourself; something that simultaneously fills you with joy and breaks your heart because you know it can’t go on forever. Sehnsucht is that taste of heaven on our starving lips that has us yearning for the full meal. Here’s a few songs to ignite the joy, the precious longing within.
- John Denver: “Take Me Home, Country Roads”
- Old Crow Medicine Show: “Wagonwheel”
- Tom Petty: “Free Fallin'”
- John Mayer: “Stop This Train”
- Johnny Cash: “Folsom Prison Blues”
- The Format: “Snails”
- Bastille: “Pompeii”
- Sam Cooke: “Wonderful World”
- Loggins and Messina: “Danny’s Song”
- Jeff Buckley: “Hallelujah”
Photo (Flickr CC) by satguru