I have been reminded repeatedly lately that I am living in the in-between, the already...but the not yet. After returning from another brief trip back home to Colorado I find myself at a loss today for how to process all that occurred...but more importantly - how to process what did not occur. In Colorado I seem to be more connected to my creative, productive and worker-self. In Washington, I am much more rooted in my contemplative, reflective, book-loving-self. The communities (and I use the term loosely here) that I am a part of in both regions of the country may know both of these sides of my personality, but for some reason the nature of my role in Colorado seems to call upon my productive self with greater energy as Seattle bids the contemplative side to thrive. And I am apparently lost in-between the two.
What is it about these two distinct locations in my story that reveal such a dichotomy? I think that in Colorado I learned early on to take care of everyone else so that I would not have to acknowledge my own neediness. The moments when my neediness surfaced always led to extreme humiliation or rejection. So I learned to focus on all of the presenting needs around me rather than sort through or discover the root of my own. I made an excellent "church worker" because of this. Now, in retrospect, I realize that true discipleship requires that we face our own neediness honestly rather than splitting off from it.
My role here in Seattle is quite different. I am here getting an education on how to help people in their neediness, and yet the point of this education is to recognize such neediness in myself first and foremost. And so most of my time here has consisted of terribly difficult introspection and reflection. I am painfully aware of my fragility and neediness here which actually seems to lead me to greater isolation. But both worlds are rather lonely. In Colorado I am lonely because I have forgotten how to feel my needs within that context. In Washington I am lonely because I am overwhelmingly familiar with my needs.
Right now, as my trip to Colorado is still fresh in my mind...and my entrance back into my life here in Seattle is sitting here staring at me in the face, I am very aware of the contrast. And I'm wondering what will bridge these two realities in my life. Previously I would have determined that I am the one responsible for building the bridge. But now I'm convinced that it is through relationship that the bridge, which actually already exists, will become evident. As I learn to communicate my needs (which would require that I release them from being trapped within me out here) then those in whom carry them with me and for me will help guide me to the otherside and it will become impossible to disregard them and replace them with the needs of others. Then my giving to others will feel grounded in my own experience and not as a way of quieting that part of me.