Sunday, July 15, 2007

introspection

At the risk of stating of the obvious, I offer the following observation: My life is absolutely nothing like the lives of anyone else I know.

Most of the time this is fine. Living in Nicaragua, working in development/cross-cultural ministry, and everything that implies...is something I willingly and joyfully chose (and for which God chose me).

Being around a group of people from the States last week in the DR, however, brought home some realities about how I have changed. For one thing, while I follow political and international news fairly regularly, I am totally out of the American pop culture loop. And I don't even care. One of my friends on the trip also noted that I seem to care less about what other people think of me--and in the sense of measuring every word I say against its possible interpretation by those who hear it and how it affects their opinion of me, I'd say that's true. I'm much more comfortable just being who I am here--perhaps because the energy it would take in another culture to create any kind of facade is just too much work to even contemplate.

So I enjoy the opportunities for a different kind of existence that are made possible for me outside my home culture...and then I read the blogs of old friends, many of whose lives are marked by career advancement, marriage, and/or children, and I feel a pang of loss. Which brings me back to my mini-existential crisis. Up until a year ago, the questions, though not simple, of "who am I" and "where do I come from" and "where do I belong" were fairly straightforward. Not so any longer.

Although I was born in the USA, I feel uncomfortable identifying myself primarily as an American anymore. And although one day part of me would like to have the identity of wife, mother, household engineer, and the security of a new generation of a biological family to give me a sense of purpose, a deeper part of me recognizes that this cloak of stability and "normalcy" that I cling to as a future dream is not a full answer to my desire to find a place where I truly belong.

The quotes I chose last week to illustrate my state of mind point to a truth (or truths) that I am trying to accept--that I will never feel truly "at home" anywhere on Earth, nor can I expect to find security in any identity this world may give me.

2 comments:

Jessica Moore said...

This time is such a blessing for you! I love love LOVE that you're being stretched, and that you're growing out of what might have been previous insecurities! Few of us are afforded an experience that really forces us to evaluate who we are - don't rush the process. Oh how I'd love to see a Flirty Pam! :) Go on, girl... get that groove on! Dance as if nobody's watching and you never know what you might discover.

*mwah!*

Dawn Reiss said...

pam you use your words so well. i'm proud of you! i love you! ps. the only identity i put on you is "sister in Christ". you're awesome!