A Kind of Homelessness

As I walked out one evening
To breathe the air and soothe my mind
I thought of friends and the home I had
And all those things I’ve left behind

A silent star shone on me
My eyes saw a far horizon
As if to pierce this veil of time
And escape this earthly prison

Will there come a time when the memories fade
And pass on with the long, long years
When the ties no longer bind
Lord save me from this darkest fear

Don’t let me come home a stranger
I couldn’t stand to be a stranger
Lord save me from this darkest fear
Don’t let me come home a stranger
I couldn’t stand to be a stranger

~”Don’t Let Me Come Home a Stranger” by Fernando Ortega*

To know and be known is one of the most intense desires we have. Nearly everything we do is an attempt to relate with one another in some way. Some of us do so broadly, wanting to connect with as many people as possible, seeing everyone as an opportunity to explore more of what it means to be part of the human race. Some of us are narrower in our focus, targeting fewer people but desperately hoping that those relationships will be deeper and deeper, getting to know the other while knowing ourselves. I tend to be in the middle, but trending a little more towards the latter. No matter where you fall, the goal is the same: to know and to be known.

In my denomination, we are placed into our congregations, with little control over where we are sent (though we are given an opportunity to give some input), and two months ago I was transferred to a different congregation about 100 air-miles farther away from home. I’ve moved a lot in my lifetime, and the hardest part is that when I move, I continue to grow and change, and everyone at home continues to grow and change, and that means coming home isn’t quite what it used to be. We have to go farther back in our memories to talk about “that one time when…” Our conversations are more like update sessions, like rehearsing the Christmas letter that people used to write, highlighting what has happened in the months since the last time we saw one another.

It’s not the same as it used to be.

The last time I went home was for Brandon’s birthday. It was just a few weeks after I’d moved to Iowa, and it was such a relief to go home to the Chicago suburbs. To drive the streets I know by heart, to breathe the air I used to breathe (poluted as it may be, at least it never smells like manure), and even more importantly, to feel my heart settle into the rhythm of home. When it was time to leave, I was composed until I got into my van in the hotel parking lot.

Then I lost it. I hate crying and don’t do it often, but I couldn’t help myself. I sobbed. I didn’t want to leave because every time I come back, I know I’m a little different. That home is a little different.

I am afraid of the day when home isn’t home anymore. I don’t have any blood-related family there anymore. The homes in which I grew up are now just houses on Hawthorne, no longer places where I am free to come and go as I please. The horse farms are gone, there’s a Target and Chili’s near the high school, and we are a little more like strangers than we used to be.

I have a townhouse to live in. A comfortable bed, running water, food in the fridge, and a snoring dog to keep me company. I am very grateful for these things. I just don’t know that this place will ever feel like home.

I don’t know that I’ll ever feel like I’m home again. That scares me. It causes me a lot of anxiety.

I don’t want to become a stranger, but I don’t know how to stop that, either.

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About BearsGrl8

I'm a geek, a "Supernatural" fangirl, a progressive, an introverted loud-mouth, a damn fine cook, a Bears fan, a Blackhawks fan, and a fantastic aunt.

Posted on September 4, 2014, in Family, Growing Up and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Dang, where is Chili’s?

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