Friday, December 23, 2011

Longing: By the Waters of Babylon

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.


Anonymous said...

I have no words and I don't think you need any but know I understand and I feel for you so much.
May our positive thoughts and our love give you and Linda the feeling of being part of a home this Christmas.
Thank you for teaching us LIVING and DYING...two unseparatables.
Thanks to God that I can share but a pebble in your life.
Your life is worth more than diamonds to each reader.
From far across the oceans with sincere love and caring.
Shalom dear Beth!

PS.I also cannot deal with masks..
and English is not my mother tongue so forgive any mistakes.

Anonymous said...

you are loved and prayed for and thought of often..such small comfort I can give but its here

Defying gravity said...

Hi Beth

I have thought about this a little at Christmas too. It's nothing as extreme as your experience, but when I was a teenager I found that everyone else disappeared at Christmas, all off having happy times with their families, or so it seemed. I still get that feeling of being isolated at Christmas, even though I'm actually not any more. I think perhaps it's one of those things that can't be unlearnt...

wendryn said...

*HUGS* Christmas is frustrating on so many levels. If it helps any, we think about you often and love you dearly. Katja carries your name and will be told all about you when she is old enough; you are important in our life. We will keep sending postcards and also periodic emails, and we still read. You do matter.

Lots of love to you and Linda.

Kate J said...

It is your 'family' who are the losers here, Beth, when they excluded themselves from you and all the insight, knowledge, creativity and love you share with your friends, and from your and Linda's love for each other. And they must follow a very strange sort of god indeed who expects them to turn their backs on a daughter and sister when she is ill and in need. No kind of family at all.
Love & peace

SharonMV said...

Dear Beth,
we (Dennis & I) always have holidays at home alone. I'm too ill to travel & most family members don't or won't come here. it is very sad for us. I used to love
christmas (and my birthday which was Thursday). Recently a few family members have made an effort to come & see me, but they won't give up holiday fun time with their families & in'laws & friends to come visit us. One year Dennis' sister came for his birthday (they have the same birthday) And last year Eileen & Dennis' Mom came down . Dennis tries to visit his Mom more often sine his Dad passed away. But I hadn't seen her in 6 years. I could go on, but it's too sad. Except to mention that I rarely have seen my nieces & nephews.

I used to have a list of all the people I'd visit when I was better, think about the holidays we'd have with Dennis' family. that list is gone. If I could travel, the first person I'd visit is you, Beth. Then fun trips for me & Dennis!!!

Love & Christmas Cheer to you & Linda

Tina Russell said...

That really sucks. It hurts not to have a home, besides Linda’s arms of course... I wish I could be part of your family and help throw you a wonderful Christmas... wahhh! It’s not fair, it really isn’t.

I’m sure you already know this, but Moses himself never made it to the Promised Land, he died an exile. Of course, in the Bible it just seemed weird and arbitrary to me, so that probably doesn’t help. (sigh) I really wish the universe made more sense.

Nonetheless, I hope you have a good Christmas, of course. So much hugs and love, Beth, in a just and righteous universe you’d be surrounded by a phalanx of hot stripper handmaidens at your beck and call (subject to the approval of your wife, of course!).

Neil said...

Happy Zombie Cannibal Day!

As Mel Gibson's Willie Wallace said in "Braveheart," everyone dies; not everyone lives. You, my dear online friend, have LIVED. And while it hurts to lose your family, Kate J is right: your birth family are the losers, for they have shut out one of the most intelligent, loving people I could ever wish to meet - Elizabeth NFDY McClung.

And your secret weapon in the fight against the forces of evil is your dear wife, Linda, she of the childbride status and the dazzling smile.

Thank you both for being there, and Merry Christmas to both of you.

Love and zen hugs,

JaneB said...

Ah, that feeling of being an exile from a land we never lived in, I do know it.

I'm lucky that I do have a family which, if not exactly 'normal', is loving and human, but visiting the older parts of it do cut me off from things like, oh, regular internet access (I am currently accessing the 'net via an old laptop and very slow mobile dongle link, which only works if the laptop is on one particular windowsill and the dongle hung from the vent - rural living!), which mean I can't reach out easily to those of my friends who may particularly need to know I'm thinking of them. Which I was, and am, and will be.

Elizabeth McClung said...