Monday, January 31, 2011

Just to get it out of my head while I'm thinking about it...

How is it possible to feel homesick for a place I’ve never been? How is it possible to miss voices and faces with whom I’ve never shared a single breath? There is a hole somewhere in my brains, and it is unique amongst its brothers because this hole in my brains has a singular echo:

I miss…” it says quietly, before trailing off again.

Sometimes I get to a wonderful new place and the little voice says “Yes! That! I miss that!” and sometimes I hear a wonderful new voice telling a wonderful new story and the little voice just weeps from loneliness. What is it though, that is missed?

Community? Kinship? I’ve been on my own, spiritually speaking, for a long time now. Me and the big J broke up rather immediately after my confirmation and neither of us has really looked back since. I’ve gotten used to concealing a lot of my new spirituality and faith, just as I’ve gotten used to helping those closest to me get used to the things about me that I can’t conceal. My outward expressions of faith are now easily categorized as “cute” or “quirky”, or ironed smoothly out as one would an otherwise obscure parable.

The short version: I do not fit. Not really.

I am not from the place where I come from, after all. That was made rather inescapably clear to me quite recently. The place where I was raised is somehow not the place that built me. I am more of every other place in the world I’ve ever been than I am of the tiny, zippered, pocket of the world that sent me out. I don’t belong there. I never will. Having finally wrapped my whole head around that idea; I find myself reaching out into the darkness for someplace where maybe I do fully belong after all.

It’s not that I don’t belong here, it’s that I don’t belong here. I largely enjoy my life and all the good things thriving within it. I’m still the luckiest person I know. Yet the tiny hole in my brains still whispers “I miss…”. And I do miss it, whatever it is that I miss.

I miss the wood smoke and the orange light in a cramped, dark room. I miss the chorus of voices. I miss the stories and the beer and the bad jokes. I miss bearing my sorrows out in a room full of sympathetic ears. I miss their open hearts’ consolation, their rejuvenating acceptance, and the thrill of regaining my footing in their midsts.

Gods, I miss the stories.

I’ll never say I was born in the wrong time. Time is what it is and I was born, as they say, precisely when I was “meant” to be. Whatever that means. I love vaccinations and plumbing and things like toilet paper and the internet. I just miss the stories. I miss the fellowship. I miss dancing and the music of other people’s voices ringing out alongside my own. I miss belonging.

It’s not that I’m not perfectly adept at being by myself, blending in where I have to, concealing what I need to when I can’t. But that’s not really belonging, is it?

It hasn’t mattered to me but in fitful spurts over the last 30 years, this whole belonging thing. Now that golden chalice around which I’ve never yet been fully able to wrap my fingers calls out to me with more tempting a song than ever before.

“I miss…” goes the hole in my head.

“I know…” goes the iron in my heart.

“I miss…” goes the hole in my head.

“okay.” decides the cookpot in my soul. “we can try again. Okay. One last time. Go find your spear. Let’s try to do this right.”

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