By the Waters of Babylon; there we weep and sat down
Psalm 137, the psalm of exile and longing seems appropriate this time of year. As appealing as Ayn Rand seems we do not construct our life alone. Sometimes the decisions are made by others and sometimes life just happens to us. And while this season effuses a home and family, for many of us, those are the lights of families, of towns, twinkling attractively in idea of inclusion, of home. My parents, Murray and Patricia McClung moved three times before I was 5, and 19 times from 7 to 18, so there is ‘coming home’ for me.
My parents, when I first became ill, chose to withdraw from me, and any minimal assistance until three years ago, they simply stopped being my parents and disappeared. I have not seen them since then.
My brother Peter R. McClung and his wife Susan do not approve of my ‘lifestyle’ and will not meet me, or in the last years communicate. This means I have seen my teen nephew once. I don’t know if he gets my communications.
Where I grew up, there were ‘outsiders’ and ‘chosen ones’ and since ‘outsiders’ were dead already, not having the True God in them, communication, interaction was all forbidden. When I came out, I lost every friend I had: I am already dead to all those I knew for 20 years.
So, there is no ‘coming home’ for me.
This time of year, as people disappear into what I hear from them over and over again is ‘important’ reminds me that I am one of the many who is outside, an Exile whose homeland is gone. Much like the story in the Pslam, where those forced marched to Babylon, the remnants of the kingdom of Judah, homeland destroyed, taken to another land, given new names, and then told, ‘sing us those songs of your homeland. Sing us those songs of your happiness and joy in your land.’
People can choose to come together and people can choose to be apart. I can forgive, I can send letters or emails, but without the other choosing to connect it becomes just another dead letter box.
If you don’t know what I am talking about, or are too busy with family and parties and engagements to understand what I mean, that’s great. But for the rest of us, here is to those aspects of longing, even for a place or live that isn’t possible. I ask myself almost daily, “Why do I have to die?” Here is for the dreams unfulfilled, and the hope that is crushed with them.
I think all of us, particularly those that wear the masks, have a schism between what we long for, what would give us peace, the aspects of the self and the life lived which are a life in mourning. Sometimes it seem I have been exiled from a land I was never a part of, may have never visited, and as much as I love travel and seeing and learning new things, there are times where I dearly ache for ‘home’, though there isn’t one. And no Peter, I don’t believe that money solves everything, though being ill without much, or in the inevitable debt (as Lene writes about) tends to highlight the social separation.
Today, we remember, and yearn.
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