Hymn text by Evan Stephens, 1854-1930. View the full text of this hymn.

When I was in college, I lived in many different apartments and houses. But there was one house that I loved dearly, and after moving out, I thought “what was I thinking?” and moved back in again as soon as I could. After getting the key, and before anyone else moved in, I went in and laid down in the hallway. It was silly, but I was just so glad to be back, to be home, and it seemed like the right thing to do.

This past summer, I was looking for a job. I expected to get one in Utah, since that’s where all my contacts and expertise were, but I kept a half eye out in my hometown, too. And surprisingly enough, it was my hometown that bit. I hadn’t really dared to let myself consider it a possibility, but when everything worked out (a bit too smoothly to be mere coincidence), I was more than thrilled to go home.

Part of it is the desert itself. Though I know other people might find the prickly plants and heat abhorrent, I genuinely love both. To me, Arizona is gorgeous. The narrator of the hymn explains “The flow’rs around me may be fairer/Than those that bloom upon thy hills;” and that’s a bit how I felt, leaving Utah for Arizona. Utah is unmistakably beautiful, and I know not everyone would agree with me on Arizona’s less-traditional beauty. But also like the narrator, “my fond heart doth thrill with rapture” when I think about my hometown.

The larger part of why I was so thrilled to go home, though, wasn’t mentioned in the hymn. It WAS, however, mentioned in the scripture that goes along with the hymn. Brigham Young had been away from  his family, but was finally told, “My servant Brigham, it is no more required at your hand to leave your family as in times past” (D&C 126:1).  My immediate family all lives in Arizona, and I’d been away from them for 10 years. The chance to live within an hour or two of them all is fantastic, and I doubt I will move far away again. Hopefully, I will stay near my family for the rest of my life.

Home is an interesting concept, because it can apply to so many things: a building, a city, a family. No matter the type, coming home is a joyous occasion, no matter which type of home it is. And in the end, aren’t they all types, symbols of the ultimate home? When we finally  make it back to our heavenly home, won’t it be a much more joyous occasion?

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