Saturday, July 4, 2009

A Stranger in a Strange Land

I have often used the expression "a stranger in a strange land" thinking that it was simply the title of Robert A. Heinlein's 1961 best-selling novel. Now I discover it is a quote from Exodus 2:22.

I read Alisa Burke's most recent posts today and they reminded me of how more and more I have had the uneasy sensation of not belonging where I am. That I am "supposed" to be somewhere else. But where?

I have lived in San Francisco for 30 years, an amazing fact given that in the 30 years prior to moving here I lived in 22 different homes in 17 different cities. The odd thing is that although this is an undeniably beautiful place on Earth, and although I have now been here for half my life, I have never felt a sentimental attachment either to the city or to the Bay Area. I don't think it comes from moving so many times in the first part of my life, because that would not explain the fact that I have longings for other perhaps less beautiful places where I have lived for much shorter periods.

So I often have these moments where I feel out of place, like I should be somewhere else, but the problem is I'm not sure where that is.

Do you ever feel like that, or are you "home"?

It is now a little over an hour since I published this post and in visiting my regular blog "reads" I have found two posts about places where people love or don't love living, here and here. Weird. As in "mysteriously strange or fantastic".


eb said...

I dream of "going home" frequently
the most feeling at home feeling I know
is after a session of satisfying yoga, a mountain hike or tuning into a deep listening of nature...

home nevers leaves us
but often we seem to forget how to get there

oh and btw
I just received a call
from Anna Marie...

xox - eb.

anna maria said...

Well. And I just wrote a PS about reading your post and Rice's.

I also have a recurring dream about "going home" but it always involves some form of going out to shop or run errands and then not being able to find my way back because the streets, or the doors, or everything has changed...

KathrynAntyr said...

It is a simple case of synchronicity! I have lived in many places with my current residence the longest in my adult life. My gypsy blood as boiled on a few occasions and I know I will move again but for now I'm enjoying what there is to enjoy. It isn't "home." I haven't found "home" yet.

Pam said...

Interesting...yesterday I spoke with a good friend from graduate school over the phone (she lives in Kansas) - we used to always joke that I could live on the same piece of land forever, and how every few years she feels the need to move somewhere. Except that a few years ago she moved into a house (old) and a place (with land) and how she now understands better how I often resist moving.

I live in South Carolina, but often think of Virginia (and Charlottesville) as 'home'. It's where I great up - where I still have alot of extended family - and when I get there, and drive around on the curvey roads of the mountains, I feel at home. There are places there where I know that I belong - without question - and that is a wonderful feeling. I don't feel that way in Charleston, but have nonetheless grown to love this place (for me it's the water - I've now lived 18 years near salt water, and I can't imagine not seeing it everyday).

So I guess I understand. The only place I have that feeling of belonging, without question, is in Virginia.

jane said...

Great topic! Wish I wasn't so tired...
I have never belonged. I know someday I will go home. I love the song Wayfaring Stranger and it immediately came to mind when I read your post:

jane said...

Oh..I hope you didn't mind me putting a URL in the comment section..delete it if you want. Sometime I don't like it when people do that on my blog. =)

The times I feel like I belong the most are when I am in God's will. It is then that I have a sense of purpose and direction and wisdom...those moments of grace, you know?

anna maria said...

I don't know if you're the Jane I think you are because your name only takes me to your Blogger stats, but in any case I don't mind at all that you posted a link in the comment.

In fact, thank you. I immediately went there and listened - love Johnny Cash - then I also listened to Emmylou Harris' version. Beautiful as well. Here is that link

I know what you mean about those moments of purpose and direction and wisdom, but I'm definitely not having one of those lately. I'll get there though.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

I've moved a lot when I was growing up (dad in air force) now I been in Dallas 35 years - 3 houses.
While I had young boys, I didn't have time to think about it. Each house we moved out of, I felt we were leaving home and never knew when the new one became home. We've been in this house 14 years, love the house and it's home but we don't really belong here anymore. Maybe home has just become where we are.
Interesting question. I think one that we all give consideration to from time to time.

Anonymous said...

I've traveled all over but NYC is home for me. ;-)