"The House That Built Me" as written by Tom Douglas and Allen Shamblin....
I know they say you can't go home again
I just had to come back one last time
Ma'am I know you don't know me from Adam
But these handprints on the front steps are mine

Up those stairs in that little back bedroom
Is where I did my homework and I learned to play guitar
I bet you didn't know under that live oak
My favorite dog is buried in the yard

I thought if I could touch this place or feel it
This brokenness inside me might start healing
Out here it's like I'm someone else
I thought that maybe I could find myself

If I could just come in I swear I'll leave
Won't take nothing but a memory
From the house that built me

Mama cut out pictures of houses for years
From Better Homes and Gardens magazine
Plans were drawn and concrete poured
Nail by nail and board by board
Daddy gave life to mama's dream

I thought if I could touch this place or feel it
This brokenness inside me might start healing
Out here it's like I'm someone else
I thought that maybe I could find myself

If I could just come in I swear I'll leave
Won't take nothing but a memory
From the house that built me

You leave home and you move on and you do the best you can
I got lost in this old world and forgot who I am

I thought if I could touch this place or feel it
This brokenness inside me might start healing
Out here it's like I'm someone else
I thought that maybe I could find myself

If I could walk around I swear I'll leave
Won't take nothing but a memory
From the house that built me


Lyrics submitted by caseykins

"The House That Built Me" as written by Tom Douglas Allen Shamblin

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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The House That Built Me song meanings
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  • +4
    Song MeaningWhat is it like to leave a place you love, experience life, but realize that you are not fulfilled? Even more so, what do you do when you return home to rediscover yourself but all you encounter are the memories that echo your brokenness?

    Throughout the verses of this song, Miranda introduces the occupant of her old house to its history, while switching to her current struggles in the chorus. She starts with a brief introduction of the house and then ventures to more specifics once inside. The climax of the song hits when she realizes that she has done the best she could in life but has managed to lose herself along the way. Her current attempt to rediscover herself is evident in the visit to her old home.

    The great thing about great songs is that they can have different meanings to different people. Songs can also have varying meanings for the same person, depending on their life stage and point of view. I find this to be the case with “The House that Built Me.” When I first heard this song, I thought of when I left home for college and a professional career. I often thought of what it would be like to go back and if I would find restoration of the sadness that I experienced with leaving home for school.

    However, after listening to the song again, I have discovered another meaning that relates loosely to the “Parable of the Prodigal Son” in the Bible (Luke 15:11-31). This parable describes a son that leaves home, squanders his wealth, experiences heartache and poverty in his attempt to live on his own, and then eventually returns home to his family. Similar to the parable, Miranda sings about how “you leave home, you move on, and you do the best you can.” Like the prodigal son, there was a realization in Miranda’s song about how in doing what she thought was best, she “got lost in this old world” and forgot herself. In the song, however, she returns to a home occupied by another, and no mention is made of where the family is. While listeners may not know the specific reasons for leaving, there is a bittersweet perspective given when visiting her old home. While the prodigal son was able to reconcile with his family, the main character in this song was not as fortunate during her visit.

    This particular view of the song reminded me that there will be a moment when it may be too late to receive restoration in the way we may desire. There is an appreciation for one’s past and a longing to be made well again, and it is through this that we find an emphasis on not postponing healing. The song leaves me questioning where will she go after her visit? What type of healing was she able to experience? In her taking “nothing but a memory,” did she not find the repair that her heart needed?
    cookal3on August 08, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAbsolutely love this beautiful song. You can almost see yourself in twenty years time saying the exact same thing to the new owner of your old house. It has a nostalgic tone to it that really touches my heart every time I hear it. I can listen and listen to it and never get tired of it's powerful and emotional words. Did she find what she was searching for? Closure? Fulfillment? I don't know... But I certainly hope she did.
    JustMe16on October 07, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthis song truly means alot to me and probly always will be. I had to move away from my old house after my dad past away and it exactly tells how i want to go back and just remember the good times its sad and i cry everytime i listen to and most of my old pets are burried there to.
    ashley15on December 17, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI love this song because I relate to it. I lived in the same house in Kentucky until I was eleven and it was just a trailer on two acres, and my mama would cut out pictures of Home and Garden Magazine, Southern Living, O Magazine, you name it, and arrange the rooms and she bought books that had blueprints for houses in them and would dream about her ideal home and Daddy did his best to breathe life into it and make that old, silver trailer into a real house.

    I was so young and so free and I was me. I just wish I could go back and be me again, but I've lost myself along the way and I just don't know where I forgot who I am or when I lost what I've been missing, but I just want to knock on the door of my old house and ask to look around and try to find what it is that I've lost. I remember my bedroom was so small and had a funny shape to it, but I just want to go back and run my fingers along the window seal where I nearly broke all my fingers when my brother dropped the window on them when I was three, I want to look under the bed where I hid from monsters when I was six, I want to knock on the hollow spot in the wall Daddy covered with Spackle because the door knob went right through it when I was throwing a fit when I was five.

    I just wish I could pay my respects to my beloved dog, Bingo, one last time, and somehow find what I've lost. I just want to remember again and be myself again.

    Basically, that's what the song is saying and I cry every time I hear it. I hate everyone who does a cover on it because none of them capture the emotion behind it. They think it's a pretty song and move on. They hear the lyrics, but they don't listen. They don't know what she's saying. They can't connect to it, they don't know how it feels to lose something along the way and want so desperately to backtrack and go back to your childhood home and try to find it and just remember. They sing it with a smile on their face, a laugh in their throat. I want to punch them in the face. They just don't understand and they never will.
    shelizabethyon August 20, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song brings tears to my eyes. I interpret it as when you're younger and you aren't as thankful for what you have until it's gone. I think everyone will experience this feeling. When you look back and if you're able to visit it again, it makes you so sad because all the memories come back. What a beautiful song with beautiful meaning.
    ssherman12on March 21, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGod I love this song...it is absolutely amazing. Miranda's voice on it is so spot on, and the video is amazing. It talks about how you are raised and how your home values are set and how you want to get back...I can't even form a coherent comment, I love it THAT much.
    Nataliexoon May 24, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is just my personal interpretation from experience.
    But when she was young she had the perfect childhood. A family with a mom that had big dreams of a perfect house, that her daddy built them. And she was happy, but at some point it was all broken. Probably just because she grew up, and her parents sold the house (or died?(. But maybe her parents could've divorced, and the house was sold to someone else, and she lost that perfect childhood. So now she's tried doing everything to move on and become something new, to fix that broken feeling. But no matter what she can't, because that childhood was a huge part of her life, even if it's not herself anymore..

    carleeloversillyon May 30, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti like this song too. It just makes me think of a girl who grew up and left her home. it sounds like she became something she didnt want to. Now she is trying to find herself again, reminds me of Lady Antebellum's "American Honey".

    What does it mean when she says "i know you dont know me from Adam"? i dont get it.
    ktbug33on June 20, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI absolutely love this song. Miranda's voice is almost angelic the way she shows the heartbreak in a song.
    I agree with everyone, though I do have my own thoughts on it. I get that she wants to go back home to all the memories, and the good times. But why? I think because maybe, she's taken her new life a little for granted. Maybe she feels that she needs a reality check and she knew that seeing everything from her past would help that. Remind her who she is and where she came from. What do you think?
    BrookeNicholeIsAFiascoon June 23, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSign if you want real country back: petitionspot.com/petitions/fixcountrymusic/
    shadowkats3on July 06, 2010   Link

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