I want to go home

from flickriver.com

Last night I had one of what I call a “lonely dream.” No images or story are remembered just the feeling of loneliness. Frequently I don’t bother to write this dream down for what is there to say about it? But I also get the same feeling while wide awake. It’s a haunting feeling and I have got to ask what is this about?

Recently I learned  that the South Africans have a saying when greeting each other. When one says “Sawubona” they are saying “We see you. We see you as you really are” with the response being, “Sikhona” meaning “I am here to be seen”. For me this greeting speaks to what I long for, to be truly seen and accepted for who I am and to see you and accept you for who you truly are. No trying to look good or at least not look bad. No trying to be other than who you really are. This kind of authentic interaction is in my experience rare and can be an extremely intimate way of greeting one another. When this greeting is truly and sincerely given, it requires the gift of immense vulnerability. 

Most people I’ve met cannot give me that gift nor have I been able to always give it from myself. But I want to, I long to, I ache to give it. Once in a while the captive energy of the need to connect at a deep level becomes too much and I share a vulnerability and then after being ignored or shied from I become embarrassed and promise myself to never again open myself up to people in this fashion. But then the need to be seen grows too strong in me and I do it again.

Sometimes in the dark of night or in the darkness of despair at any time of day I find myself crying out, “I want to go home!” It is often said as though coming from the deep down child in me. It usually follows the feeling of loneliness that has sometimes shown up in my darker dreams or while just driving down the road to do some shopping.

I’ve often uttered these words almost as a prayer but what does it mean?

Home for me is a safe place, a place where who I am is known, a place where I am wanted, where I am seen, cared for and about, and loved. It’s a place where everything is okay, where nothing can hurt me, where I am fully accepted for who I am and who I am being, though such a place has never existed for me in its entirety. It lives within me more as a fantasy, a wish, a place half remembered from a place before my time, a place I was born from, and not into. I call out to this place when I am feeling lost and alone. It’s a place that my soul seems to know, and it is from there that the cry comes from.

When said into the light of day the darkness seems to lighten somewhat.

Imagine that!

Reading the Science section of the New York Times* this morning while sipping coffee I chanced upon an article detailing an astronomical observation of a supernova, a dying star that exploded and whose light and existence we are still witnessing one billion years later. Imagine that! We can look back through time and see something a billion years in the past right now in the present moment as though the star, its planets, and living things, if any, were still here with us. Imagine that!

Now I know that what we are seeing is the gross radiation of the star that in its own space and time no longer exists and the resolution is nowhere near what it would need to be to discern its planets and their life. However, this got me to thinking what if the resolution were powerful enough to see not only the star and its planets but the people on one of those planets and to be able to follow their emanations across their life cycle? We would be witnessing individuals who are living and being across a billion years of history as though they were still here. Beings a billion years old, Imagine that! Imagine someone from a galaxy millions and billions of years away with the technology to watch you live your life.

At some level we are all just data expressed as a living entity. But this data never ends when we end. The data from each of our lives outlives us by unimaginable time spans. A scientist would tell you that this data might not be cohesive enough to stretch that far across time and would become hopelessly corrupted to be almost unrecognizable. Even though the first law of thermodynamics suggests that energy cannot be created or destroyed and that according to the second law it will over time increase in its disorder, at the point of observation we may be witnessing what was so a billion years ago. A single life may be witnessed yet again a billion times over. Imagine that! 

From the perspective of some imagined observer our actions whether they be good, evil, or stupid will live forever. Our hate, self-centeredness, self-righteousness, bigotry, ignorance, grief, joy, compassion, passion, and love will be projected outward into the universe for all time to see.

From the perspective of a creator of the universe, if there be one, our existence can live on indefinitely. I think we’d better shape up if we’re going to be around that long.


*page D2, April 18, 2023