For one year, I have lived abroad, and I’ve rambled and word-vomited my thoughts about that experience and life in general here.
There’s something I might as well say here because apparently it’s a difficult concept for some people to get: This year has been one of the most exciting and rewarding of my life, I feel stronger and healthier than I have…maybe ever (these are spiritual adjectives…physically, the situation is different…see the other blog for further self-obsessed details). AND, at the same time, it has been challenging and difficult…I have been pushed in unexpected ways, I’ve found some painful blind spots in my own personality…I’ve cried more than ever before. This year has been remarkable, and it has literally altered the course of my life, and I don’t know if I would do any of it again because it was too hard.
All these things are true. At the exact same time. How can that be? How could something be awesome and terrible and amazing and shattering at the same time? Because that is what humans do, guys. We have a lot going on all at once.
1. It’s Time to Get My Feet On the Ground
I’ve already decided that if I were to write a book about this last year, it would be called, “My Year as an Inner-Lander: How I Went Abroad and Discovered Myself.” Bam! Copyrighted! I think that’s how that works. I always knew I was decent at this self-reflection thing, and as evidence, right away last year I was able to identify some aspects of my year abroad that would end up being running themes for the entire year. But now, after spending about 10-15 hours a day for almost 365 days strait in my own head, I’m at Luke Skywalker Post-Degoba levels of contemplation. The Road to Wahnfried is a concept that developed from my realization that a lot of my life is, a lot of the time, governed by implicit beliefs and assumptions, dreams and fantasies I create to make my life easier, and outright lies that the world puts out there in order to divide and conquer the planet’s resources. My goal this year was to explore all that ethereal mess, sort through it, and see if I can get walking to a place where I live comfortably without it. It’s a process I will continue for the rest of my life. But it’s also a lot of….well, I’m not going to use bad words because my grandparents sometimes read this blog (hey, guys!). But it’s a lot of STUFF when it’s all just in my head and regurgitated out into the Blog-o-verse (Quick sidebar: I’ve been trying to promote the term “Blog-o-verse” since 2004. “Blog-o-sphere” makes no sense to me. It’s on the inter-webs…how is that spherical? It’s much more like the ‘verse, an abbreviated form of the term “universe” used in Joss Whedon’s Firefly, everyone has their own little planets and planet systems…Blog-o-verse. Try it out, I think you’ll like it.)
So as I think about going back to America, I am so thankful to have had the time to do this work fairly independently of my native culture, my tried and true safety nets, and deeply ingrained habits. There was no autopilot for me this year, and it has turned my brain, for better or worse, into a pretty tip-top Reflective, Separating machine.
And now something even harder begins. Now that I know how to separate the lies of the world and delusions of my own heart from The Real, Suffering of God’s Beloved Creation…now it is time to get my feet on the ground and truly live there. So in the next week, this blog will change a little bit to reflect the new part of this journey…Gotta get my feet on the ground and start getting some momentum.
2. Thank you to anyone who might be reading this. If you have your eyes on these words, then you have been a silent, distant, but extremely FELT presence of support in the last year. This blog was started in hopes that it would be a good way of maintaining contact with friends and family and building dialogue and conversations around what I was off experiencing on my own. That never happened really. With a few exceptions (big shout out to Jamie Paul! And she is doing her own blogs now, and you should look at them here, here, and/or here), this blog has not been heavy in interaction. I don’t know why this is. BUT, the blog does tell me how many people look at the blog every day. It doesn’t tell me who or where, but it tells me how many. And there’s approximately 2,500 people (or one person 2500 times) who have, accidentally or purposefully, dropped by and taken an interest in what I’m doing and how I’m spending my year. If you are reading these words, you are part of my personal Community of Saints. You get sainthood for sitting through this mess of words I hobble together. Your presence and attention is felt, and it matters…your support, just through the act of silent observation, has been a constant reminder that even when I am feeling most isolated, even when I am at my lowest points, I am never truly alone. That means more to me than you will ever know. Thank you. I love you.