Monday, November 06, 2006

California Dreamin' (Last Post) -- This World is Not My Home

This was our ocean view from the balcony. The brown field will be covered with flowers in the springtime. I'd love to see that!

We didn't make it to the big red trees. If we had continued north from Lake Isabella we would have come to them in another fifty miles or so, but we needed to get Kevin back home.

We returned from Bakersfield late. It was a drive like I've never experienced. Ten lanes of traffic on I - 5, five each side, completely solid with cars for hours. The sheer volume of people now packed into Southern California is mind-boggling. In a bag in the back seat were fresh corn tortillas (still warm when we purchased them), a bag of avocodos and some oranges. Now that is a beakfast in the making!

Next day I felt a little ill, waking with a sore throat and a badly congested head, but I spent a little time at the pool and Ken took a last dip in the Pacific--the day sped by. Next morning my sister and family flew north and we flew east.

I dislike the word "closure." But I experienced a bit of it, I think. It was good to realize that in some ways I still am a Californian even though I moved away a very long time ago. I could still drive in stop-and-go freeway traffic...eek...and felt quickly comfortable with the culture. I have a broader point of view than several of my Wisconsin neighbors about many things, and I believe it comes from growing up in a metropolis on the coast. I was reminded, once again, that I love diversity. I awoke in colors I love, and I realized that some of the color palate I prefer comes from my California roots. Califorornia looks like Florida at first glance, because of the beach and the palms. But California, unlike Florida, is full of bright colors. (Florida is full of pastels.) I loved the blue, yellow and green beadspreads in our condo, the paintings of turquoise blue sea and sky and bright flowers, boats or buildings. I loved the food--fresh and beautifully prepared with lots of flavor.

I also realized anew that no place is home for me. California is not my home. It was fun visiting places in the San Fernando Valley, but it was not home. It was fun to realize that part of me still says "Made in Los Angeles" but I would no longer want to live there, nor in the valley. I am not completely at home in the city anymore. But than again, Wisconsin is not home either. I like many things about Wisconsin, but there is a part of me that will never be a small-town person, no matter that the town in which I currently live is under 4,000 in population.

For that matter, I never quite seem to fit anywhere. I do not fit neatly into the Evangelical nor Pentecostal Church models. I do not fit into the Republican Party, and I do not fit in the Democratic Party. I do not fit in many women's groups, though I am a woman. I do not fit neatly into either the Pro Life or Pro Choice camp. I like loud and happy woorship and being joyful in church, and I love candlelit silence and stained glass windows too.

Perhaps I am just a mutt, as my profile says. Or a misfit! Or perhaps we are designed to find our home in God.

Philippians 3:20-4:1 (Today's New International Version)

"But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord..."

Could it be that for those of us who belong to Christ, we will only be 'at home" in His presence? Ever since returning from our short trip, I have had the words to an old gospel song in my mind. "This world is not my home...I'm just a passin' through..." I believe it is a little trite but nonetheless true, and perhaps I should just rest in that. Not the song, the awareness.


Anonymous said...

One of my favorite hymns is "I'm a Pilgrim and I'm a Stranger" It continues: I shall tarry, I shall tarry but a night. Do not detain me for I am going, To where the fountains are ever flowing.

When we forget that this world is NOT where we truly belong, then we give up our real hope. Much as I'd like to make earth like heaven, there's no way to do that. If I want heaven, then I need to go there.

Glad you had a good time. It's important to do those kinds of introspective trips.

Questing Parson said...

It's difficult to have a permanent home when we're on an everlasting journey.

Anonymous said...

Before I became a Christian (at age 23) I used to think that if we were made for this world then we were very much over-made. Once I became a Christian it was easier for me to accept those exact feelings that you describe as not quite fitting in with any group (although I'm sure many people would not believe that about us eh?), the little place of inner loneliness & longing, that sense not belonging fully anywhere. It's probably a good thing that we're not too comfortable here! :) Maureen

net said...

Amen. The Church of the Heinz 57s.

Psalmist said...

Don't know if I ever told you this, but I'm "Made in California," too (though I spent most of my growing up in the Northwest and consider that area "home"). The last time I was there was about seven years ago for my grandmother's funeral (she was the closest I had to a mother in my life). I lived with her for over six of my earliest years in the Bay Area, and I will for the rest of my days know that indefineable fragrance of the sea over the dusty eastern hills. When we moved north after my father re-married, I remember being very disappointed that the poppies don't grow naturally up there.

Anyway, your wonderful writing brought back my own memories of California. And like you, I have been away for a very long time and could never live there again.

Your fellow Citizen of Heaven (who even so holds the Golden State dear to her heart)