Monday, December 21, 2009

christmas = anxiety

so i volunteered to put together some sort of service/ritual for our ever increasingly interfaith family - our traditional christmas eve service just isn't going to work anymore.

and i was excited about putting something together, something meaningful, which can really bring us all together in some sort of way. something short and special. mom's really into the idea, and is trusting me to put together something fantastic.

But my problem is that my brain is tired, and i am also nervous about putting my heart out there again, for fear that this whole thing will turn into a laughable chore.

faith discourse has been a tricky thing in our family the last few years; what i find most difficult about it is the lack of support which often creeps up for everybody's individual faith journeys. discourse often turns into debate turns into hurt feelings turns into further frustration. but at the same time it holds so much potential.

so i am hopeful about the potential of this little exercise, but also am aware of how my spirit might be crushed in this process. i would like to offer something as a gift, and fear that its just not going to fly or be respected. my stomach hurts.

anxiety. all over. we'll see how it goes i guess.

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.