Last week in my adventurous journey around town, I was re-introduced to the term and it has stuck with me because of the explanation that came with it. I hadn't heard this reference before last week.
The person that used the term was previously homeless herself, so she wasn't using the term in a derogatory manor. She used it to describe folks on the street and explained that the term comes from the expression "homeward bound". That was a new explanation to me. But it has stuck with me this past week and has rumbled around inside me. We talked about how we're all hobos in that sense. We're all homeward bound. I like that. I want a t-shirt now that says something about being a hobo. It is very much akin to being an alien. She also shared with me that her cardboard sign read, "Jesus was homeless too." That's a powerful statement that is also a cause for pause. But, I digress (something I do quite well here).
I associate the word "hobo" with trains and train hoppers, folks carrying sticks with red bandanas on the end of them as they travel. My association comes from stories, movies, my imagination, and my ay dreams. Though I never hopped a train, I day-dreamed about it quite a bit, after reading books or seeing movies. It was romanticized and seemed like a neat way to travel. I pictured myself carrying a stick with a red bandana tied to it.
As I grew older, I learned by observation that living on the streets isn't romantic by any means.
As I mentioned, the term "hobo" had disappeared from my vocabulary. Words such as homeless and hungry are those that I tend to use to describe folks that don't have a home. Yet this term "hobo", especially when associated with "homeward bound" takes on a new meaning.
There is quite a bit of discussion about the origin of the term "hobo". Some say it comes from the city of Hoboken, NJ where folks started hopping trains. Others say it comes from the civil war days when soldiers were given one-way tickets home, thus homeward bound.
Click here for a discussion on the term from The Word Detective from 2007.
Click here for an article from the Washington Post by John Kelly from August 18, 2014
Click here for information from Princeton on the term, code of ethics, etc.
The above links are interesting and provide historical information. But they don't discuss the homeward bound aspect.
Click here for an article relating to homeward bound that discussed the ethical code by Linda Johnson from April 14, 2014
I could probably keep searching and who knows what I might find?!?! (or not) But, it's the last day and hours of 2014 and I still have some things to do for Provisional Elder paperwork. I also have those three other books to read before Monday.
As 2014 ends and the fireworks begin (yes, I hear them starting already at 9:45pm EST), contemplating the term "hobo" and its potential origin of "homeward bound" fits my reflection time.
I am an alien. One that is homeward bound. Each day, each moment takes me closer to that reality. Though I'm an alien here, I'm also home in the here and now too, in the sense that God created this place, the present, for us to live. While here in the Kingdom of God on earth we are called to live out the example set for us by Christ and to follow the greatest commandments of loving God and loving others. The home, the Kingdom of God that is to come, heaven, well... it is at some unknown point in the future.
For my grandmother, for Will, for Leila, for Dr. Cornelius, for Gene, for April, for Lyman, and for many others that I have known and/or heard about this past year, the future home is now present to them. For those of us still on our journey "home", it isn't easy as we miss those that have gone on before us, whether it was in 2014 or an earlier year. Yet, we too, are homeward bound.
How am I making the most of my time, my energy, and my relationships as a hobo? Am I investing well in those around me as I journey on? I hope so. That is my desire.
How about you? How is your homeward bound journey?
Maybe it's not something you've thought about much. If not, it is something to consider.
I am grateful to have been re-introduced to the term "hobo" and to the thought of being "homeward bound" in association with it.
Thank you, Robin!
To all, blessings on your journey!
Here's Simon and Garfunkel and their song "Homeward Bound". It may not fit the theme of the heavenly home in its intention, yet.... home is waiting and this is a catchy song by talented artists.
P.S. At some point I'll write a 2014 reflection post, but that will have to wait. ☺