this blog has been fading out for a while, and i guess it's time to admit it's all 'pau' (hawaiian for 'over', 'done', 'complete'). wrapping my mind around all that has happened this year, i am so grateful for the journey, the daily unfolding of surprises, and the place i landed.
i just had another birthday--31 now. i remember last year's birthday, my parents came to visit me in colorado, i showed them my van set-up, we cavorted around the mountains reconnecting our family ties, and i began to relax into my singleness. i'd made it to 30 without any serious commitments, why not use my lightness as a birds advantage and take off into the wind? the seed of my next adventure was planted, i would make one of my big dreams come true--living in a tropical paradise.
fast forward to today. i woke up cradled in the gentle embrace of a man i'd given up hoping for, in a place of unending blooming beauty, myriad birds singing me out of bed and into another day of perfection. i can't remember if i've ever been this happy. i don't expect it will last forever, but i'm going to ride this wave to the shore, and then i'm setting up my home there.
from here on out, it's our adventure. i may end up heartbroken, but i'm ok with that, this is worth it. maybe we'll move back to the mainland, pick up the chateau faded rainbow and rattle off onto the blue highways together, and if so, i may resume this blog. but for now, we are cozily nestled in our island incubator, thoughts of leaving far from our minds, and i feel more like keeping my heart a secret than blasting it into the storm of the internet.
until we meet again, mahalo nui loa to you wayfaring strangers, long time friends, family, and vandwellers....
i'm finally ready to put this email together, i've been thinking about it all week. you've tapped into an ocean of memories, beliefs, and experiences that have shaped me into who i am today. i will answer your questions as honestly and completely as i can, and i appreciate this chance to get to know you.
"One thing I have wanted to ask you for a while is - What are you running from? I cannot say that I know the environment in which you grew up in. I know your family and their beliefs, their convictions but only you know the impact your childhood had on you. We each have a perception of things we have been through. My view of my childhood is going to be somewhat different than my brother or my sister. What is yours?"
first, i am not running from anything. i am right here, living my life like any other person, i don't really know what you mean by this. do you mean to ask why i don't live near my family? i love them all very much and enjoy the time we spend together, but it's better for me not to live in central PA, i find it depressing and boring. i prefer a life of adventure, traveling has always been a passion of mine, and i want to live in and experience as many places on the globe as possible. that's why i'm not physically there with them. there are also spiritual differences, though i see them more as societal differences because i have no problem with jesus, i rather like him, but the culture of christianity in this country is irritating to me. most of my christian family has subscribed to a collection of so-called spiritual beliefs that i find absurd. there seems to be much less to do with the actual experience of god's presence and much more to do with constructing beliefs about what other people should be doing. 'spreading the gospel' is more about condemning peoples rituals, actions and choices than about the teachings of jesus, and i find that very off-putting.
second, my experience of childhood was altogether enjoyable. my parents taught me the important lessons of honesty, trustworthiness, fairness, and independence, and i think they are proud of me now. sure, we had some rough patches, but that's normal. they always did their best and stood their ground based on what they believed, and i respect them immensely for that. i gather from your email that you had a very different experience of childhood and i'm sorry for that, i'm glad you found your way into my family, they are nothing if not safe and reliable. and i admit, if my beliefs lined up more closely with yours, i'm sure we'd be closer, but something about my family's set of beliefs makes it impossible for them to accept someone who doesn't believe the same things. they are constantly trying to convince me that they are right and therefore everyone who doesn't believe that way is wrong and frankly i'm tired of it. i've been through enough ridicule and shaming and it's not healthy for me to subject myself to it anymore. i know you'll find that hard to believe, but you don't have to believe it. that's the difference with me, i'm willing to accept that we can't meet eye to eye. the experience of being human is varied, and that's what makes it wonderful. we were not all born to be christians, or muslims, or jews. we are all here on different paths and that's what makes the intricate web of life on earth so fascinating.
"I had actually feared rejection from them in the beginning since I was such a horrible person. They loved me and accepted me. They didn't like our lifestyle but they loved us."
this is not the experience i've had with my parents. when i have been honest with them about my life i have been met with rejection, sorrow and being cut-off from them in many ways. i've decided not to share the details of my life anymore because of this. i want to spend the time we have on earth together in harmony, enjoying the things we have in common, not quarreling about our differences. i knew i wasn't a 'horrible person', i was just not cut from the same cloth. i think your experience was due to the fact that you fell into the range of acceptability by the time they met you--you were straight, loved their son (brother) who had been living on the edge, and were moving in the direction of marriage. i'm happy that you feel comfortable in my family, and now that you're a christian, there's no reason for you not to.
"I am telling you all of this to say that everything is your life has happened for a purpose. Nothing has happend by chance or mistake. God has allowed you to experience all that you have experienced for a reason."
i know. i'm not a stranger to god's plan for my life. god speaks to me everyday, it's not some mystical experience, it's all right here right now. just because i don't worship the way you do or call god by the same names, doesn't make me any further from her. i don't believe god has a gender, and calling god 'she' is helpful to break that illusion. i don't like to talk about my experience of god with my parents because they would probably tell me i was doing it wrong. exactly what i don't need someone telling me when i'm sharing the deepest experiences of my life.
"God has a purpose and a plan for my life that required me to experience the good and the bad. The same is true for you."
again, i know. it's not news that bad exists in equal proportion to good. it's a law of physics applied to the metaphysical realm.
"God has made my passion women and teens. To be able to reach out the the hurting and to understand what they are going through. I have truly been there. I can relate.
I don't know what your view of God is or Christianity but I kinda get that you are turned off by it. I am sure there are good reasons for it. I just know that your pursuit of happiness is leaving you empty."
you just explained how your life was so different than mine and now you say you've 'been there'? been where? to my life? no, i don't think you have, but that's not a concern. you are trying to reach out to me and i respect that, but don't try to turn me into a victim who has been hurt by life. i'm in good shape, and i'm deeply enjoying the pursuit of happiness. no, everyday is not an absolute miracle of joy, but who's life is? yours? that would seem to contradict the 'experience the good and the bad' aspect of life. or do you propose that once one finds god, there is no more bad? i found this part of your email to be a bit contrived, why do you think i am 'empty'? because i don't believe the way you do? that's an old psychological trick (one that's surely been played on you too) to make someone believe they need something that they don't. tell them they are not complete without -fill in the blank-. this is precisely why i am distant from my christian family. they can't believe, in fact it goes against the very nature of their version of christianity to believe that someone can be whole without 'christ'. i don't lack christ, i don't lack anything, i am a whole human being, loved and cared for by the same natural forces that love and care for you, i just don't believe the same myths you do.
i don't mean to be harsh, but this is a tired subject for me. i am not offended by what you wrote, and despite what you may have heard, i am not adverse to having an intelligent conversation about religion, i believe we've just had one. i respect where you are coming from and i hope you can at least accept my position.
i hope to have a fun visit with you when you come to hawaii, and i'll try to post pictures soon, my camera doesn't work right now. it's incredibly beautiful here in the tropical rainforest, as usual i guess!
all the best,