multifaceted? schizophrenic? inconsistent?

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Hey. Um, I'm doing fine after that rather dramatic post there. Things are still uncertain. But hasn't all of life been uncertain since we left Florida-- and really, since we arrived in Florida and found it wasn't what we believed it to be? I've been walking around learning to hand over my fear and panic for around six years now. What's a few more months? Pshaw.

That's not what I want to write about; it's just my response to my felt obligation to somehow apologize for or explain that Dark Night post. I can't really do either, and I refuse to delete it, because that is part of my life these days. So it stays, I try my best not to minimize it-- although I can see already that I just did-- and we move on to other fascinating topics.

Including: Who on earth am I? (note: fascinating to me. I rather guarantee this to be tedious to anyone else.)

I've lately become very puzzled by the inconsistent breadth of my own perspective.

I am part snarky modernist, sneering at the simpletons and fundamentalists and hippies. This man's derision of the homeschooling fundamentalist moms at the blueberry patch, for example, made me snort in my tea--- particularly when I clicked on the link to discover who Little Critter's Mom was.) I read snooty food blogs, lifehacker, and like geekery, and usually relish it.

But part of me hates the snarky modernist. I want to grow my own food, educate my own children, follow the God that's been in my heart since adolescence, eschew cable tv and video games and even Dora and Elmo. After laughing at Dutch's vitriol over the homeschoolers, I click right on over to another regular read--a homeschooling mom of 6 in Canada who writes the most beautiful and honest reflections I've ever seen about living life as a mother devoted to Christ. I soak up the wisdom in her writing, and it dissolves away some of the cynicism and arched-eyebrowness that comes from the snarkers.

Then I click over to my Wiccan teacher friend in Hawaii who writes beautifully about her dogs and her knitting projects. And then over to another Wiccan, a mom of a toddler in Virginia who lives with very little so that she can live deeply and richly with her son, giving him a world of hikes and flowers and friendly wolves instead of days of shuttling between a harried home and a chaotic daycare experience. And then over to my favorite snappy shopping blog, who gives me tips on where to find great stuff dirt cheap-- even as I'm contemplating how much less we could live with if we just tried.

I am all of these perspectives, but also a critic of all of these perspectives. I love parts of each and every one of them, but am fairly sure that, were we to need to be slotted into a particular "type," that I would fit in none of their respective compartments-- and possibly even be welcome at none of their dinner parties, because so many of my other sensibilities would not be shared there.

Perhaps this is some of what's sparking this question inside me: We have good friends here that are enthusiastically environmental and naturalistic in their viewpoints. I love those friends and in many ways love their viewpoints. But something in me can't commit to sharing them wholeheartedly. I am a skeptic of all things. I can listen with great interest as they mention their hatred of Wal-Mart, their refusal to vaccinate their children, their distrust of traditional medicine. But I can't join the bandwagon without tangible proof. Can anybody give me something to read that proves that Wal-Mart is worse than other corporate entities they're buying from instead-- not just bigger? (And why shop at Sam's when you drive to the bigger towns, if you don't like Wal-Mart?) Has any reputable source published anything about the dangers of vaccination, when the dangers of NOT vaccinating a society's children are so great? I want to ask these questions because I really would like to know their answers. But I don't want to seem like a prick, so I don't-- and feel myself a little withdrawn as a result.

Our church, which contains some of those good friends, is also full of older generations of a decidedly more conservative order-- Christians whose worlds are more black and white than mine, who would never dream of voting Democrat for any reason, who think that questioning the 7-day Creation account in Genesis is essentially questioning the validity of all of Scripture and even the Gospel itself. These are sweet, hearty, wonderful, loving, good people, and some of them helped shape my faith when I first came to God. I am honored to have them in my life. But my world is much more murky and uncertain than that, and I'm not sure I could return to that purity of perspective even if I wanted to.

My husband is one of those people who cannot help but speak his mind on almost everything. He'll challenge almost anyone's viewpoint, argue or debate if necessary, lay his own perspective out on the line before he knows what the other person believes at all. I sometimes admire this and sometimes think it's insane, but regardless, I have never been able to imitate it. You probably won't know my opinion unless you ask me outright. This is sometimes wise and safe, and sometimes overcautious, I know.

Apparently I am unclassifiable. Too conservative to be a hippie, too liberal to be a conservative. Too environmentally conscious to run around consuming thoughtlessly, but a bit too skeptical to believe every eco-rumor that gets passed down from a friend or natural foods store worker, and unwilling to modify my life for something I'm not sure of. So I end up with friends (and reads) in each camp, sampling from everyone, enthusiastic about everyone, and utterly unable to stake a tent in any one location.

It's odd, and I think it's part of what makes me always a little lonely. But isn't everyone always a little lonely?


Holli Says:

6:47 AM

Kim...You are such a good writer!

We miss you guys and think of you often. It still amazes me how quickly connected we felt to you during our transition time out of ministry and out of Florida.

This post made me laugh. I totally get what you're saying and feel the same way about who I am. It seems we don't quite "fit" anywhere!

Holli (& Matt)

mysticalfeet Says:

12:24 PM

Have I told you lately how much I love reading your blog? And the dizzying array of perspectives and opinions and peeks into other peoples' lives on the internets in general? We are so blessed (by whomever we subscribe to) to be living in this time, I think, when we can read the musings of people we'd never have had the chance to meet in our own tightly bound circles. Enjoy your day.

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