I used to scoff and roll my eyes when I heard people talk about "finding themselves". Huh? That just sounded like so much hippie melodrama from lives that would have been better spent working hard, thinking of others and serving God. That was until I opened my eyes one morning, looked around the room and realized that my own life had gone missing. That was over seven years ago.
Since then I've been on a quest of sorts to...yes, er, here goes.......to "find myself". If you've never lost yourself, you may be indeed rolling your eyes and thinking CLICHE. But it really happens to people. It's like you get cremated while you still have breath and your emotional ashes get scattered all over. You can either let them lie where they settle and rest in peace, or you can say, "NO WAY" and you can painfully set out on the healing journey, to sweep up the ashes and reconstitute yourself (Does that sound gross?) I've encountered more of the RIP types in these seven years and I don't want to be one of them. So these days I'm still sweeping up ashes.
I find them everywhere. In new acquaintances who enjoy my company and think I'm smart and funny; in old friends who have stayed close by even when I didn't act so smart and couldn't bring myself to feel any humor at all (God, could I be boring sometimes!); in family that dearly love me unconditionally and never waiver in their trust and support; in noticing when I'm needed and setting the alarm to drag myself out of bed to serve someone else for a change; in the traditional music that makes my heart sing even when my voice seems a little pitchy and the fiddle screeches; in visual art that, in my life, manifests itself best in antiques and architecture; in nature in all her manifestations, blaring eternal truths that you and I could never express; and most of all, in the dynamic, never a dull moment, conflicts and joyous encounters with the God of the universe, who I know is there, but whose untamed God-ness always keeps me off balance.
The most surprising place I have found pieces of myself is in adventure. Maybe not in the adventure itself, but in the way my feelings and perceptions get concentrated and I find myself opening up to possibility. When I leave my comfort zone, unexpected things happen and they are almost always good. I get glimpses of my old self, before the bomb went off, and I feel comforted in the knowledge that, blown to bits or no, I am still me, just redesigned and reworked.
Of course I don't have to leave home to find adventure but, in the spirit of High Adventure, tomorrow I travel to Ireland, in search of more little Kim-shaped embers. I'll be traveling alone because taking one of you along would just be more vacation than adventure. I've done my homework, made some exciting plans (no tour buses) and have so much to look forward to. I'm having doubts, anxiety, ugly visions and second thoughts. Is this "finding myself" enterprise really necessary? Why can't I just be hiding under the bed? It would be so much easier to "find myself" there. I really feel the spiritual hand of You-Know-Who once again calling me to come along, trust His judgment and follow His lead. So off I go, just like Alaska, where so many wondrous things happened and I discovered ashes just in the going.