7.25.2006

Comings and goings.

I’ve been silent here for so long that I don’t quite know where to start. A lot is going on in my life, and it’s occupied my day-to-day doings so completely that the thought of writing about it, mulling it over in print, is too daunting.

When things become so overwhelming, I resort to lists. Which is part of why I’m becoming a librarian. Which is one of those things I haven’t mentioned here (see “daunting”).

Hopefully I will be able to discuss each of these items in more detail in the future, but for now, a barebones outline of What’s Going On With My Life:

1. On June 28, I ended my job at Calvin College after working there for three years.

2. On August 13, my husband and I will move to Philadelphia.

3. Contrary to our original plans, Nate will be working full-time while I go to school full-time.

4. I’m going to school to become a librarian. Not sure what kind yet. Maybe public, specializing in young adult literature. Maybe a broadcast librarian, maintaining digital archives and doing research and reference work for journalists.

What’s pertinent in this forum is that I’m not sure what to do with Evangelical Expat. Part of the reason that I haven’t posted much, in addition to the Big Life Changes I named above, is that I’ve grown tired of deliberately filtering everything through my jaded-yet-hopeful expatriate lens. There have been things that I’ve wanted to write about here that I didn’t feel I could, because they didn’t fit topically with the stated purpose of this blog.

That’s frustrating, because the fact is, being an evangelical expatriate is no longer my primary identity. For a long time, largely because I was working at Calvin, I was wrestling with what it meant to be a Christian outside the mainstream, what it meant to be in the subculture but not of it, yet of the subculture and not in it. That took most of my energy, but I got the energy back from having conversations about the very things that drained me.

It’s not that I don’t wrestle anymore. It’s not that I’ve given up. It’s just that I’ve made peace. I’m an evangelical. I’m not content with that 99.9% of the time, but contentedness and peace are two different things.

The point is, I want and need to widen my focus. The expatriate identity has become stifling, because it’s not all there is to who I am or, more importantly, what trying to know and honor God is about. I just want to be myself, not a representative of a somewhat contrived movement.

That doesn’t mean I’ll never write about expatriotic issues anymore. I will, because they’re part of me. But I’ll have more energy for them if I can also tell you about the radio project a girlfriend and I have conceived that will revolutionize your car trips. If I can also muse over what happens when we move back to the east coast and try to reintegrate our Midwestern experience with our Yankee roots (and Nathan’s Southern ancestry, too). If I can just talk about what I’ve been listening to, what I’ve been reading, the television show I really like. If I can post links to my obsessive Flickring, documenting our new neighborhood and our best friends. If I can share my favorite recipes, because you know what? I really like to cook.

I haven’t felt free to do any of that before, and it’s time. I hope what I have to say will still be interesting to the people who occasionally stop by here. My guess is that it will be more interesting to me, if no one else, and right now that seems worth it.

At this point, I’m uncertain whether I should keep the Evangelical Expatriate name. It might be time to move to another address, one which doesn’t promise something it can no longer deliver. I won’t be hasty, but I’d appreciate your input on that. Should I stay or should I go?