Monday, November 15, 2010

Knickers and Knowing Who I Am

Somewhere between Maryland and Virginia, I lost a little bit of who I am.  This is slightly disconcerting as Maryland and Virginia border each other, and seeing as there are no states in between....where could those bits of me gone?! :-)  Of all the things I had worried might be lost in the move, my identity certainly wasn't one of them!

Having no background or history in a new place has kind of made me feel like I have to find my identity all over again.  Or worse, be "identified" as something I'm not, maybe because of a bad first impression.  Before the move, I wouldn't have given much thought to what it was that actually "defined" me, but after the move, in a place where I can no longer be defined by what someone already knows of me, I've found myself feeling less secure in situations that I would have normally felt very confident in.  When you start a new job, someone has already seen your resume, they know what you've done before and what you're capable of.  When you start a new life in a new place, there's nothing that goes before you to prepare the way and let people know whether you're a normal, contributing member of society or a fugitive running from the law...ok, that's a slightly exaggerated extreme, but you get my point!  The things that defined me before, for all intents and purposes, virtually vanished when I left behind the place where I had a past.  To some, that might have been a relief, but quite frankly, I enjoyed the identity I had before the move and felt mighty comfy in it thank you very much! :-)

I think this whole "identity crisis" might explain my mini breakdown a few weeks back...

Sam had a field trip coming up in which he had to dress up in Colonial attire.  Matt was going along on the field trip and was also expected to dress up.  (be patient, I promise to include a picture at the end ;-))  The day of the field trip dawns and Matt realizes he doesn't quite have all he needs for a costume.  Due to a lack of communication on both our parts, I had come up short in meeting his expectations surrounding the securing of appropriate Colonial attire for the men in my family. :-)  My "good friend", the over-achieving woman in Proverbs 31, springs to mind..."The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.  She does him good and not evil all the days of her life." (Prov. 31:11-12)  Yeah, well, easy for her!  She hasn't just moved and had to start all over, having her mind cluttered with so many details that what once came so easily, now requires many lists and reminders! :-)  It's ok, you can unashamedly laugh at me now, I won't be offended...I, thankfully, can at least let one corner of my mouth lift when I think back to my tantrum-like response to Matt's unmet expectations. (NO picture to follow ;-))  What normally would have (hopefully) slid right off my back, instead sent me into such a tizzy that it was my poor children who scrambled around to help their dad find what he could to be "Colonialized". 

Reflecting back on it, I think it was my loss of identity in other areas that made it so hard for me to just brush it off and move on.  With the bits of me that I did lose in the move, at least I had (or so I thought) maintained the parts of my identity that I treasure most, that of being a wife to Matt and a mom to Hannah and Sam.  I normally take great satisfaction in the fact that I'm able to anticipate the needs of my family and usually meet them without even having to be asked.  When I felt as if I had failed in that, it rattled me because I had forgotten (maybe not so much forgotten as neglected to remember) that there is an even bigger part of my identity that can never be shaken...

I am a child of God. 

In the unsettled-ness and lack of surety in this life, there is always that.  Our identity will always shift and change when it is other people who are looking at us...and how could we not let insecurity creep in if it is by others that we define ourselves?  My identity will only be secure when I let my significance and value lie in whose I am, not who I am. 

"See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God" (1 John 3:1)

"Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!" (Isaiah 43:1)

"The Lord your God has chosen be His people, His treasured possession" (Deuteronomy 7:6)

I am slowly, but surely finding again the bits and pieces of the "lesser" things that used to define me as I risk letting those I meet see the real me.  While it is always a risk to put your true self out there for all the world to see and define, I have also found that there is always a reward. :-)

"Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future." :-) (Proverbs 31:25)

(Now, I have always been one to enjoy the comforts of the times in which we live, however, if I had seen this man in knickers back in the day, I certainly would still go weak in the knees as I do today.) ;-)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

"You've Got Mail"

     Something amazing happened last Friday.  With anticipation I walked down to the end of my driveway, opened a little, black door...and found mail!!  This may not seem like something to be too overly excited or surprised about, I mean everyone gets mail delivered to them, right?  Doesn't our Declaration of Independence go something like this?..."We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness...oh, and the right to receive mail at your place of residence." :-)  Well, it has been 90 long days since we have had any mail delivered to our mailbox.

     Warning to anyone who is looking for some grand revelation in my journey of discovery after our recent move.  :-) This post has absolutely nothing to do with any growth or emotional breakthrough on my part.  These are just some random, inconsequential musings...because quite frankly, all deep thinking must at some point be interrupted by randomness, however else would we all keep our sanity?

     When we moved into our newly built home on July 29th, our builders were planning to put up our mailbox for us. So I made a trip to our post office to find out if there were any guidelines the builders should follow in putting up the mailbox.  For instance, which side of the driveway it should be on, which side of the road it should be on, etc.  Little did I know I would continue to make this trip for a full 3 months! 

    I was told by our post master that we weren't "allowed" to put our mailbox up yet because in a new, rural neighborhood the government had to do surveys and studies into what would be the most cost effective and "efficient" way of getting mail to the new neighborhood.  This process included paperwork going back and forth between the developer of the neighborhood and the post master, (paperwork of which I might add, kept getting lost by the post office and had to be resubmitted by the developer) the route having to be driven by someone conducting the "study/survey", and the amount and type of mail coming into the post office for new residents of the neighborhood having to be analyzed and counted to come out with an average rate and type of mail received by aforementioned new residents. (huh? :-)) We were told that the reason the mailbox couldn't be put up yet was that the government needed to await the results of the survey to determine whether we'd need to share a post with our neighbor, have our own post or simply just have to keep making the drive to the post office daily.

     So I continued to make the 4 mile drive to the post office, which was in the opposite direction of anywhere else I ever went, while I waited for the government to do it's work...I need to mention here that within the first week of moving in we had deliveries made straight to our door by both privately owned FedEx and UPS (shout out to our friends who work for each of these companies :-)). Last week we finally got the call from the United States Post Office that we had the go ahead to put up our mailbox.  What were the specific instructions as to how and where we should put it up as per the extensive studying and surveying that had been going on for the past 3 months you ask? "Eh, put it where ever you want, just be sure your name and house number are on the box so the mail carrier will know who's mail should be delivered there." (side bar: there are currently 3 total, count them, 1, 2, 3, houses in our neighborhood :-))

   I'm left to ponder just how much exactly all this surveying and studying cost...and question whether this is really the picture of efficiency?  Final thought of the day on my random the bigger picture, of things more consequential than whether or not I have to make the drive to the post office everyday, will we as a country ultimately benefit as a whole from more or less government in our day to day lives?  Just sayin'. ;-)

Don't take the little things for granted :-)