Mt. Kinabalu

Mt. Kinabalu

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Raw-thoughts on orientation

            After a week of orientation in Chicago we have finally begun our journeys.  Sixty young adults scatter around the world, on their way to communities anxiously awaiting their arrival.  We have spent a week of orientation trying to make sense of difficult questions about faith, identity, culture, privilege, power, and diversity.  Not surprisingly there were more questions surrounding these conversations than answers.  This left many of us struggling to express the multitude of emotions stirring under the surface of our skin, still suntanned from summer adventures we'd so recently left behind.  Ecstatic, pained, confused, purposeful, anxious, ready, scared, blessed, angry and loved  name a few of the emotions I found ready to burst out at any moment.  In describing this over abundance of emotion I tried words like neutral or numb.  It seemed more accurate than trying to pin down one specific feeling, which may change within the next minute.  However as the tears streamed down my face while hugging many of my fellow journeyers goodbye a new word came to mind. Like the salty streaks of tears left sitting on my cheeks I felt raw. I feel raw in more than one sense of the word.  One definition says raw is "having the surface exposed and painful" which is fitting. Having to contextualize our identities in terms of the global community has certainly left me feeling exposed and even pained at times.  To recognize there are systems at play in our world resulting in poverty, oppression, and division, about which we can only make small differences can feel hopeless.  This sense of feeling raw is crucial as we must carry both an awareness of ourselves and these systems as we begin to build relationships in our new communities.  However, possibly more importantly I feel raw in the sense that I am unrefined or unprepared.  Like vegetables lying on a cutting board I am ready for preparation, to be refined, to be changed.  We will all be changed this year and will hopefully find something new to stir into what we have lovingly called the great American melting pot (or salad bowl if you prefer).  

            We have spent a week searching for a recipe for how to live this next year and realized it doesn't exist.  There may be a few givens but there is lots of room for both creativity and mistakes on this recipe card.  The one thing I do know is love, hope, and peace will be at the top of my ingredient list.  Speaking of food, already encountered some interesting cuisine on our first flight to Seoul, Korea.  I wasn't expecting my side dish to have eyes (it was just my first encounter with anchovies, nothing too special yet)  More updates to come upon my arrival in Kota Kinabalu (KK)!

Peace & Blessings 

(From the YAGM Malaysia Facebook page, captioned "The Malaysian Minions are on the Move")

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like changes are already afoot in you as you discover the vast divide between the haves and the have-nots in our culture and "raw" is a good word to describe what you are experiencing. I am both excited and awed by the experience you will have this year that has already begun.

    And I do like the metaphor of a tossed salad vs. a melting pot as the flavors, I believe, are kept more distinct even as they are mixed together. It is quite a diverse and beautiful world we live in - looking forward to how it will move you. Have great fun even as you are challenged! We head out for Scandinavia in a week to explore our roots but also find new ways to bridge the divide between poverty and affluence. Deep peace to you, Delia, your aunt Chris