Ah, Jared's Java. Pleasant taste. Slight Monsterism.

Welcome to the home of my mind, where I brew my intellectual and spiritual joe. Sit back and let me pour you a cup or two. I promise not to cut you off, even after you get the caffeine jitters.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Lost and Found


Lately, I've been thinking a lot about who I am. How I define myself. A lot of people say they define themselves by specific values, but the values spoken by the mouth rarely reflect those lived out by the body. It's not that they are incongruent or even antithetical. It's that those spoken are rarely as important as those lived by, though many would try to convince you otherwise by their many words.

I often hear people say that faith is their highest value. I also hear others say social rights of minorities, sustainable living, music...even beer. But what I often see is that these values are lived out in the context of the individual's greatest value: their family.

I certainly wouldn't be quick to criticize that. It's fabulous to have a family to value and live the rest of your life in the context of relationship to. As a matter of fact, I believe that we are hardwired that way by our Creator.

Family is, in many senses, everything. Our greatest losses have to do with them. Our greatest joys are related to their own. Holidays revolve around spending time with them. They are our world, and we see the rest of the world through our relationship to them. In the US, our family is our culture.

The biggest current hurdle that I am endeavoring to overcome is my lack of this grand context in which most everyone else lives their life. It is something you cannot understand unless you have been excommunicated, as I have. How do you define your life, who you are, what the world is like without this context? I'm still figuring that out.

As of late, it has been an embracing of my Irish roots. And it's been somewhat surreal. It really hasn't been a big conscious decision. I didn't wake up one day and decide that I was going to try to look/act more Irish. I'm growing a beard, and decided to go for a modified version of a chin strap. It was a decision based on fashion preference, when I made it. However, it's a very Irish style. My choices in clothes, especially the hats I'm wearing lately, have leaned heavily toward Irish styles (see Irish driving caps). Kelly green and Guinness brown have been my favorite colors for years, but I find myself wearing them more often. In this journey I'm on, my Irishness is becoming a more authentic part of who I am, and I'm enjoying that.

I feel pulled, as if by invisible forces, something deep within my subconscious or unconscious mind, to be choosing these things. I believe it's that drive to fill the lack of meaning being out of the family has left in my life. I'm latching on to what culture I can (not that there's anything wrong to reaching back into one's own cultural heritage on any other occasion; frankly, I feel quite strongly that we should all be doing it). I know a good part of it is coming out of my security in who I feel I am, though I know that also may sound like a paradox, it isn't. I like myself. I think I'm interesting, cultured and fun. I have many varied and passionate interests. I have concern and compassion for those around me. And I don't need others to tell me this all the time for me to believe it. I just do. I'm secure in the work that God is doing in my life, and who I am in relationship to Him. So, quite frankly, I don't care who thinks negatively of me for doing it. Fear of not gaining others' approval was a wall that held me back my entire life. I probably would've started down this road much longer ago if I felt fine with who I am.

But I don't look back. It is enough for me to be content with who I am today. Reliving regrets day after day does nothing but wear down a man's heart and strength. We must press on, joyful we've even found ourselves this far on the journey. A year ago, who I am today was unfathomable. I'm amazed every day by who I am when I wake up in the morning. How I take on the day with vigor and zeal. While still not perfect and with my own troubles, I'm living the life I've always wanted.

Now, I'm off to learn to be more concise ^_^

Go mbeannai Dia thu

1 comment:

Sherrie Lord said...

How far you have come, my friend. I'm thrilled and amazed and proud.

I envy your confidence, as I'm still, after all that counseling, given to worrying about others' opinions of me. Sometimes after I put up a blog post, I worry for days if I was too harsh, too bold, too whatever; second guessing myself. Arghhhhh.

Pray, tell us what self-talk brought you to such confidence and self-respect.

Regarding your Irish-ness, there's nothing better. Ireland is a culture like none other, rich with the arts and the undaunted spirit. The list of gifts Ireland has made to the world is endless, when you care to research it: the world's finest crystals (Waterford & Galway); Parian china (Belleek); fine woolens; Connemara marble; fine whiskeys and beers; writers such as James Joyce, C.S. Lewis, George Bernard Shaw, Bram Stoker, Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde, William Butler Yeats; Francis Bacon, who was a painter as well as a philosopher and essayist; and of course another long list of Irish actors and singers. Oh, and the music! And the Irish humor.

Everyone wants to be Irish on March 17th. Some of us are blessed to still be Irish on the 18th. I have so many ancestors from the Isle that it accounts for about half of my genetics. Of course I'm an artist. Of course my sons and g-daughter are artists.

I long to go there someday, and will. In the meantime, I bought a CD program to learn to speak Irish, which makes my high school Spanish as easy as Pig-Latin.

I think it's fantastic that you've found a "history," Jared. I don't have much family, and it's lonely sometimes. I can't imagine how it must be for you who has been pretty much abandoned.

Please post a pic one of these days so we can see your new beard and hat.

A fine rest o' the day to y', Jared.