Frodo says to Sam, at the end of Tolkien’s “The Return of the King”, “You can not always be torn in two.” He is saying, ‘you must let me go, so that you can give more of yourself to your family’.
I’ve often felt that my life is a direct contradiction to this idea. ‘Where you invest your love, you invest your life’*. But. I have scattered my heart indiscriminately around the world. I’ve left parts of myself with the understanding that today I can ‘have it all’. I realize now that I misunderstood that promise, I think. I can have it all in the sense that I can attempt it all. It is within my capabilities to throw my heart out carelessly just to see where it lands.
Well today I felt a bit torn in two. This is perhaps the side of international life and global citizenship living that is a bit glossed over. I find myself consistently weighing the rightness of being where I am with the wrongness of being away from those who I ardently love. In short, I am always elsewhere.
It is an elsewhere that has been the most consistent geography of my whole life. This elsewhere is a place that I am blessed and privileged to exist in. A place of diversity that serves as the very foundation of unity. Where home is at the touch of my fingers anywhere I land, through the taste of chapati, or the pulsating beats of childhood narrators like Papa Wemba or through the kinship of shared experience.
I am so grateful for finding home in elsewhere. I am well aware of the itchy, constricted feeling I get if others try to narrow my geographical identity to anywhere other than elsewhere. I would caution others though, of the toll one must pay.
To inhabit elsewhere, one must consent to being torn in two.
*Mumford and Sons I think inspired by Luke 12:34
And you never need a visa to visit elsewhere!