I don't feel at home anywhere anymore. I've been too many places, I've seen too many things, and I am made up of the bits and pieces of stories and experiences I've collected in a thousand unlikely places.
I'm too academic for this crowd, too liberal for this other group, too conservative for those ones over there, and too individualistic for those who crave the familiar and the expected.
And in my head, I often travel to that far-away era, to that land tinged with nostalgia and fairy dust that if I could only reach it, I could surely feel at home, 30 years ago in 1987. I'm stuck in the past.
I hear the notes of a song from long ago, and it is as if a collage of every youthful memory is trapped therein, amid the swell of hurried notes cascading out of an electric guitar as if it were from a fountain.
I remember it all, but much better than it actually was. It's jumbled together, the swirl of summer days and the smell of sun-kissed skin, the lazy hours that went by with nothing more to do than to read my favorite novels over and over again, the bike rides down to the Magothy River, the hope that someday I'd grow up and know what it felt like to become a rock star.
I hear, ‘Don’t Stop Believing’, and for a minute, I believe. I long to go back to the past, but really there is nothing in that place for me anymore. I feel as though I left something under the oak tree with the undulating tire swing that I must retrieve in order to be whole.
My brain conjures up a desire so strong that it feels as if surely I must have a time machine somewhere hidden whereby I could access that sacred spot in time, somewhere between 1986 and 1989, as my heart longs for it so.
Of lusty days when boys and girls wore their hair as high as they could make it and created hair-spray cemented towers, and we listened to men wearing leather pants, as they screamed the lyrics to 'Cold Blood' and 'Welcome to the Jungle'. Of riding past my brother’s best’s friend’s house, and his older brother sponge-washing a cherry red 1968 something or other, me hoping he would notice me.
This was my youth, and how I miss it so. I remember carnival lights amid the sticky smell of cotton candy and the innuendo between my classmate and me, as we rode the ride that spins you so fast that you stick to the walls by the sheer force of centrifugality.
I used all my strength to turn my neck to face a boy I hoped maybe that night might sneak in a kiss but never did. His dirty blonde hair had the 'look of California' I told myself, and the strains of 'Black Dog' could be heard in the air, as we spun faster and faster, the lights blurring in and out of focus.
I long for the days of Mustangs and Iroc Zs, of Camaros and Corvettes and all the sounds that accompanied them. I reach out for something that doesn't exist, that thing that promises it would make me happy if only I could grasp it.
It tugs at me.
It lies to me.
It beckons me to come when there is no possible way to arrive at its dusky door.
I didn't feel at home then, dodging my schoolwork and finding my refuge near a neighborhood pond with the lily pads and crickets. I wasn't enjoying life, warily watching my back because of bullies and other problems. The longing for home is one that stays with me.
I don't feel at home where I am, and I don't feel at home when I visit the town where I used to live. My hometown on the coast of Maryland near Baltimore feels foreign to me, except in those memories that feel so strong they sometimes crowd out my present reality. I'm looking for my home, and I've wearied from trying to find it in other people.
Home is in heaven, a place I haven't been to yet. I'm not looking to die, I'm looking to live here on earth as long as I can. I'm looking to raise up my progeny into somebody worthwhile. I want to see blue skies each morning for as long as I'm able.
I just think that when I get there, I will not see sleeveless boys in tank tops riding in Trans Ams but that I will see Jesus, and I will be complete. There will be no more suffering or rock stars, or a hole in my heart the size of the Grand Canyon. There will God and His love, and I will need nothing more.
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