i think my friend chris said it best tonight with "as i come up on my 25th birthday, i am finally ready to accept my existence."
to accept oneself. period. to stop picking and playing and pretending - to just be and do and live.
i have been coming into an acceptance or unfolding of my own. it's been a thing of deconstruction, like paint thinner slowly eroding the layers of oil paint on my canvases. as the critical eye was replaced with a gentle one, i have found myself unpainted, unstyled, quieted and vulnerable. and in this i have found myself coming out, the one that hides in fear and panders for praise. as i look at myself, i can smile and say ok. i can peer into my thoughts and receive them. i can embrace my sensations and respond, without fear. i have found a peace within myself. that doesn't mean it isn't threatened many times a day - not everyone will find my wild hair attractive. but more importantly, i'm allowing myself to become a fluid thing - a person in progress, right where she needs to be. and in allowing myself to be in this space, i can allow others to let their hair down and lower their guard. this plays into part of the role i feel i am called to play in this life - to see beyond the exterior self into who the person really is - beyond wounds and false images and broken dreams. to look into that person's eyes, smile and receive them - to let them know they are ok. and to invite them out of their cramped cages into the wide open of becoming who they are meant to be. and when they can't come out of that cage, to sit with them until they have courage enough to emerge. isaiah 61 puts it much more precisely - to set free the captives, bind up the brokenhearted, preach the good news to the poor, to comfort those who mourn.
not all will receive this as i have found recently. but the comforting part is that this space i find myself in doesn't require the approval or validation of another. and it does not require me to push anyone to accept or receive me. to let things be where they are, trusting that growth and light and goodness will not be overcome.
solidarity is becoming a concept i desire to embody greatly. this very near trip to live in nicaragua is an invitation to begin this process. to live as they live (though not completely, as PC tends to pay more than our counterparts receive) in hopes of giving and receiving in the life they are leading. not that it is about nicaragua solely nor the idea that "i can change the world because i possess x". rather, i find myself earnest to connect the threads of humanity in hopes of reminding us all where we came from and where we are headed. to shake out the false ideas and replace them with simple truths. to learn what "life" means in another language.
i am so excited to begin this next chapter of my life. the chance to step out of those things i desperately cling to and my romantic notions of living amongst the poor. to have my ideals confronted head on and my dreams shaken. to be tested, challenged and come out refined and alive. 34 days!!!