The other day the oldest daughter of good friends wrote on Facebook,
“Is it possible to feel trapped inside yourself?”
To which I replied, “Most definitely young lady. In fact, I would be so bold as to suggest that if one does not feel this way there is something quite wrong. We are not bodies with a spirit – we are spirit – housed or possibly even trapped for a while in a body.”
Unawares to me over the next few hours I was once again to be ambushed by a personal lament I have had since as far back as I can remember.
In my youth I was greatly impacted by the musical “West Side Story” and one of the tunes had a profound effect on me – “Somewhere”
It spoke to me of displaced people. People seemingly born out of place, out of time. Strangers in a foreign world, aliens trapped and stranded in circumstances perhaps beyond their conscious choosing.
Over the years I have managed to draw some significant comfort from the ancient holy writings that speak of the blessings that await those who are aliens and sojourners in a strange land, those who have set their minds on pilgrimage through a dry and inhospitable land. Aliens who are armed only with the hopeful vision in the eye of their hearts of the secret ancient paths that seem to lead to a place and a domain in another realm where there is indeed peace and rest.
Living my life in South Africa as a foreigner and an alien in my own land seems only to have served to illuminate this view on reality.
But I am not totally alone…
There are a few of us out here in the wilderness…
“There’s a place for us,
Somewhere a place for us.
Peace and quiet and open air
Wait for us somewhere.
There’s a time for us,
Someday a time for us.
Time together with time to spare,
Time to learn, time to care.
We’ll find a new way of living,
We’ll find a way of forgiving,
There’s a place for us,
A time and place for us.
Hold my hand and we’re halfway there
Hold my hand and I’ll take you there,
Somewhere (There’s a Place for us)
Music: Leonard Bernstein
Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim