Have you ever wept over a city? Or your hometown or your planet. I watched Star Wars: Rogue One several days ago in the theatre alone. I didn’t cry, but there were parts I probably could have. A city/planet blows up and one character who is blind is curious as to how much of it blew up. It reminded me of my favorite TV show growing up, ALF. An alien is displaced from his home planet because it exploded and he lives in a suburban white neighborhood in California with a cookie cutter American family who try to keep him from the alien task force.
It’s hard to think from the perspective of a displaced person when you have a home or at least a handful of familiar comforts. It’s hard for me to have an attachment to a location because I have moved so often. The closest I come to mourning a location is the drug problem in my hometown, or leaving college in Virginia or friendships I miss in Pennsylvania, but my attachment to people does not correlate to a sense of home.
In Ezekiel’s day, the assumption of dwelling in a city presumed a sense of permanence. “I will live here until I die.” If that held true for me I’d have lost my 9 lives all in the last 6 years. I don’t mourn the destruction of infrastructures and architectures as much as the dissolution of close-knit relationships that have come from moving. It does encourage me to know I have a lot of relationships that stand the test of time no matter how much of it goes by without talking to old friends. With some my spirit is bonded in the unity of the Holy Spirit.
But to the residence of the city of Tyre, their city, their livelihood, their familiar was about to end. And Ezekiel laments them, by sharing memories. After all lamenting is mourning through memory. In that sense, I may weep over my home more than I often think. The things that once made us feel secure, that we no longer have are gone, and now we must learn to craft that sense of familiar from scratch. God helps us with the reconstruction.
To conclude, ALF had a very interesting message about the sense of home. On 2 occasions in the show, he has the chance to leave earth because friends from his home planet are willing to come back for him. The first time he chooses not to go, the second time because the show was ending, he gets picked up by the Alien Task force. But ALF, though he mourns his old planet and ravages the house he lives in many times, he finds a new sense of home among the Tanner’s, the family whose garage he crash landed into. Though he is older than the family and will far outlive them because aliens live like 600 years, he chooses to make his home, his livelihood and his comfort interdependent with them. That’s what amazes me about the possibilities of creating home: choosing to stay committed.