It is hard to meet a stranger. Even the greatest extravert meeting even the meekest stranger knows a certain dread, though he may not know he knows it. Will he make a fool of me wreck my image of myself invade me destroy me change me? Yes, that he will. There's the terrible thing: the strangeness of the stranger.
Ursula K. Le Guin
Everybody has a 'gripping stranger' in their lives, Andy, a stranger who unwittingly possesses a bizarre hold over you. Maybe it's the kid in cut-offs who mows your lawn or the woman wearing White Shoulders who stamps your book at the library-a stranger who, if you were to come home and find a message from them on your answering machine saying 'Drop everything. I love you. Come away with me now to Florida,' you'd follow them.
A custom existed among the first generations of Christians, when faith was a bright fire that warmed more than those who kept it burning. In every house then a room was kept ready for any stranger who might ask for shelter; it was even called 'the stranger's room.' Not because these people thought they could trace something of someone they loved in the stranger who used it, not because the man or woman to whom they gave shelter reminded them of Christ, but because-plain and simple and stupendous fact-he or she was Christ.
In my experience - and this is a very awkward way to put it, since I don't really know what the word experience means - the strangest people in one's life are the people one has known and loved, still know and will always love. Here, both I and the vocabulary are both in trouble, for strangest does not imply stranger. A stranger is a stranger is a stranger, simply, and you watch the stranger to anticipate his next move. But the people who elicit from you a depth of attention and wonder which we helplessly call love are perpetually making moves which cannot possibly be anticipated. Eventually, you realize that it never occurred to you to anticipate their next move, not only because you couldn't but because you didn't have to: it was not a question of moving on the next move, but simply, of being present. Danger, true, you try to anticipate and you prepare yourself, without knowing it, to stand in the way of death. For the strangest people in the world are those people recognized, beneath one's senses, by one's soul - the people utterly indispensable for one's journey.
Nothing is stranger or more ticklish than a relationship between people who know each other only by sight, who meet and observe each other daily - no hourly - and are nevertheless compelled to keep up the pose of an indifferent stranger, neither greeting nor addressing each other, whether out of etiquette or their own whim.
When the Stranger says: 'What is the meaning of this city ? Do you huddle close together because you love each other?' What will you answer? 'We all dwell together To make money from each other'? or 'This is a community'? Oh my soul, be prepared for the coming of the Stranger. Be prepared for him who knows how to ask questions.
When the Stranger says: "What is the meaning of this city? Do you huddle close together because you love each other?" What will you answer? "We all dwell together To make money from each other"? or "This is a community"? Oh my soul, be prepared for the coming of the Stranger. Be prepared for him who knows how to ask questions.
T. S. Eliot
Staying in someone's home is a wonderful way to experience a different city. It's like stepping into someone else's life. Some people are funny about sleeping in a stranger's bed or having a stranger sleep in theirs, but I'm not against wearing someone else's shirt if he's my size. Several of the people we've exchanged with have become friends.
It was not a monster that lay sleeping on the white sheets. Nor a faceless horror. Nor even the white bear. It was a man. His hair was golden, glowing bright as a bonfire in the light of the candle. And his features were fair, I suppose, but he was a stranger and that somehow was the greatest shock of all- that I had been lying all these months beside a complete stranger.
Oh my soul, be prepared for the coming of the Stranger. Be prepared for him who knows how to ask questions. There is one who remembers the way to your door: Life you may evade, but Death you shall not. You shall not deny the Stranger. They constantly try to escape From the darkness outside and within By dreaming of systems so perfect that no one will need to be good. But the man that is shall shadow The man that pretends to be.
The brown book I carry says there is nothing stranger than to explore a city wholly different from all those one knows, since to do so is to explore a second and unsuspected self. I have found a thing stranger: to explore such a city only after one has lived in it for some time without learning anything of it.
The absurdity of public-choice theory is captured by Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen in the following little scenario: "Can you direct me to the railway station?" asks the stranger. "Certainly," says the local, pointing in the opposite direction, towards the post office, "and would you post this letter for me on your way?" "Certainly," says the stranger, resolving to open it to see if it contains anything worth stealing.
It is part of God's plan for us that Christ shall come to us in everyone; it is in their particular role that we must come to know him. He may come as a little child, making enormous demands, giving enormous consolation. He may come as a stranger, so that we must give the hospitality to a stranger that we should like to give to Christ...
Life, my dear Watson, is infinitely stranger than fiction; stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent. We could not conceive the things that are merely commonplace to existence. If we could hover over this great city, remove the roofs, and peep in at the things going on, it would make all fiction, with its conventionalities and foreseen conclusions flat, stale and unprofitable.
Arthur Conan Doyle
Parenthood abruptly catapults us into a permanent relationship with a stranger, and the more alien the stranger, the stronger the whiff of negativity. We depend on the guarantee in our children's faces that we will not die. Children whose defining quality annihilates that fantasy of immortality are a particular insult; we must love them for themselves, and not for the best of ourselves in them, and that is a great deal harder to do. Loving our own children is an exercise for the imagination.
If you asked me whether I was the type of person who liked trying new things or preferred sticking with what was familiar, I would have told you I was the second girl. The if -it-aint-broke-don't-fix-it girl. I also would have told you plays were lame. It suddenly occurs to me that I don't seem to know very much about... me. It's a weird feeling, like maybe a stranger is inhabiting my body. Or maybe a stranger was, and I kicked her out.