Monday, July 19, 2010

LIFE IN TENNESSEE // Where Have I Been For the Last Year?

I recently came to the realization that I spent the last year hiding. And now I’m starting to admit it and talk about it and try to make sense of it.

I spent the last year hiding, not wanting to know or be known. Not knowing where I belonged and not wanting to figure it out.

I moved back to Nashville from L.A. in June 2009 but in the year that I’ve “been back,” I haven’t really been back. I didn’t settle back into life in Nashville. I traveled here and there and anywhere so I didn’t have to be “at home” in Nashville, so I didn’t have to figure out where I belonged. Granted, many of my trips were legitimate – for school, work and family – but I also really didn’t want to be around life in Nashville, so I just kept going.

One reason I kept moving: I wasn’t sure where I fit in anymore. Things changed in Nashville and I changed while outside Nashville. I wasn’t and I’m still not sure where I fit in but I’m ready to figure it out.

Another (related) reason I kept moving: I wasn’t sure what I learned about myself that I wanted to share with others. I needed to process a lot of information, experiences and thoughts and I didn’t have the time to do that – what with working full-time and going to school. So, I just kept going, to get things done, to do my work, to fill my time, to keep myself from processing.

The title of this blog, “Learning,” fits as well now post-grad school classes as it did when I started keeping notes while in school in 2008. And the song lyrics that inspired me then sound even more like me now:

Walking, stumbling on these shadowfeet toward home, a land that I've never seen. I am changing: less and less asleep, made of different stuff than when I began. And I have sensed it all along, fast approaching is the day.
- “Shadowfeet” by Brooke Fraser

A “home, a land” in one sense means “heaven” to me. But now it also means this place I live in, this city and community that I am a part of, in Nashville. It’s a land that looks different now. I feel like I’ve been walking and stumbling my way back to it, traveling and hiding from it.

And I’m finding more comfort in the line “made of different stuff than when I began.” For a while I just thought that meant I was learning stuff, learning theology and missiology and meeting new people, making new friends, living in new places and finding a new identity.

But recent realizations have shown me that I was afraid to show what I learned and how I changed while in school and in L.A. and in all those cities in between. I was a little afraid of and being a little selfish with the lessons and the experiences and the realizations that I’d gathered in the last couple of years. I was afraid of some not-so-great choices that I made or “radical” ideas that I’d collected. I didn’t want to explain myself. I just wanted to be accepted and known. But that’s not always possible. Some things need to be explained; some things need to be accepted. But either way, they have to be shown, revealed, shared. I need to allow that “different stuff” to be seen. Because it’s those things that have “made” me. It’s a new me, a new identity, which was something I felt developing as I even started this journey in L.A. in January 2008.

“I have sensed it all along….” These things, these feelings have been bubbling under the surface and I’ve put them off. But it’s time. That day is approaching when I’m going to be known by others and I’m going to seek knowing others – to the best degree that I can. I still don’t know when that day is arriving but…. I have always been a very private person, held my cards close to my chest, kept that poker face in place. And I don’t think that’s going to be changing much. There might be a couple more people in that inner circle but not many, I’m afraid. I’m still pretty selective but I’m learning.

So, I’m coming out of hiding. I’m going to start processing, asking questions of myself, of others, of God, sharing what I’ve learned in theology and missiology, and through my travels and experiences. Let’s see how it goes.


Jason Hylton said...

I didn't realize how long you had been gone until reading this. I've always loved to hear you share your thoughts, whether speaking or writing. I look forward to hearing more.

Margie said...

Jackie. You are a beautiful writer. Looking forward to hearing more.

e.marie said...

I think you should work on writing a book again. I love reading your writing as well!