In a Strange Land: One

And Moses was content to dwell with the man: and he gave Moses Zipporah his daughter. And she bare him a son, and he called his name Gershom: for he said, I have been a stranger in a strange land. [Exodus 2:21-22]

It was the same but different. There was no turning back for Lisea and me. I had entered uncharted waters, and yet I knew that was as it was meant to be. I had always known that.

There was something that I could not reach. A forgotten memory perhaps. It felt like an exile. Yet, all was familiar. Daily life did not have rules—of course—but the rules had been changed. Perception had shifted by a degree.

What were we meant to be? What was I meant to do? Asking the question made it sound absurd. I had never been a great believer in meaning. The question seemed to insist itself on me ever since my exile began. It did not mean anything is what I said to myself. Take that either way.

If there were a meaning to it all, that meaning was a mystery. It was an unknown and unknowable meaning. If so, then such a meaning itself seemed to have no meaning. I could say, more plainly, what did it matter if there were a meaning that could not be known? From my perspective, there might just as well be no meaning.

It was a troubling situation, but it rarely bothered me. More important than meaning, it seemed to me, was the way of being. I could choose a way of being. We could adapt our ways of being. We had that choice.

A way was part instinct, part inclination. It happened, most of the time, without conscious thought. We lived on autopilot until something, some event or some spark of thought brought our course to the surface to be examined, adjusted, recalibrated. Then, with the new parameters factored in, we resumed autopilot.

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