Monday, December 14, 2009

Painful Liberation

Well well.


Back from Thailand. As with many of these experiences, I am unsure what to say about it. Still processing a lot; still figuring things out. What happened out there? So much.

And who am i?

These last three years or so, and especially the last few months, have been a whirlwind of changes, non-stop, in almost every aspect of life. It feels like nothing is the same except for my parents, who offer me a wonderful and stable presence in my life.

But in the midst of such life rocking changes, it feels like I am trouble grasping any true sense of identity for myself. Who am i? what have I become? Why do I change so often? Is this a good thing? Or am I running from something?

It feels like every rock that I have rejoicefully identified myself with just a few years ago have been shattered. Sometimes sadly, sometimes joyfully and in a liberating way. My faith looks quite different than it did in my providence days; my view of ministry has been dramatically altered and the way I interact with my God has changed considerably. She has become more mystical and beautiful and more mysterious, but also more elusive at times; less tangible and more . . . bigger? My environment changes constantly, both with my living situation, and with my surroundings – lots of travel. Which is exciting but leaves me with the lack of a home to connect with and take refuge in. I feel like I have gained the world, but lost my home in this process. The career path I strongly identified with now holds little interest for me . . . and so on and so on with pivitol relationships, belongings, even the food that I eat. Everything has changed.

In Thailand we spoke a lot about identity, and how our identities intersect with systems of privilege and oppression. I wish we would have dwelled a bit more on how our identities impact us as people and as communities outside of these systems. Because I feel a bit lost, and yet found, and find myself looking for direction in what feels like a vast amount of empty space.

I don’t know if this makes sense to anyone but myself. I wonder and am haunted this week by how much I have changed, and sometimes I even wonder if I am on the right road. Much of my theology and lifestyle changes have been liberating, and have released me from a limiting box of social rules and a limited, black-and-white God. But each of these liberations have come with a certain amount of pain and with a prying away of something that was once really important to me. Painful liberation. On one hand I feel blessed to have had these experiences, but on the other I think it may have all happened too quickly; that within the span of 3 years God turned my world upside down in so many ways. Which I was excited about but am now crashing a bit because I feel a bit lost in the wilderness and unsure of who I am anymore.

Without a God of black and white rules, how am I to behave? Without rigid social norms, how do I know how to define myself? Without culturally-bound social values and constructs of gender, God, right, wrong, identity, spirituality, sexuality, music, prayer, dance, joy, peace, stability, who am I without these things?

Liberated. I guess. I know. I know these are good things. I know I am very thankful for my journey the past three years. I am thankful of who I have become. I just hope to some day figure out who that is. Because every day I feel like I am falling.

1 comment:

Tricia said...

I've been thinking so many of the same thoughts lately! We need to talk. I'll probably cry when we do.