Sunday, October 31, 2010


A long time ago, I heard about this aboriginal tradition in which the young aboriginal male is taken into the wilds. There he learns to be a man. He becomes the man he is to be. I liked the certainty. There was an action, a right of passage. That stuck with me. I loved to go out into nature. Whenever things were crazy in my house growing up, I took my notebook and headed out to the trees and bugs. There I felt safe, there I found the textile of life, there I met God.

I found companions in Literature who felt as I did. Emily Dickenson and her church garden. E.B. White found the same awe in a quiet morning on a lake that he could in a cathedral in New York. Yet there was more to that first thought. A walkabout meant more than just going and sitting.

In the last couple of years, I lost track of the woman God wanted me to be. I was trying my best, but doing it out of my own power. Going back to before my marriage and beautiful daughter, I moved around a lot. I was transplanted so many times, that I began to feel rootless. I became slightly obsessed with my heritage. My grandmother tells the story at every visit of the Pictish, Scottish, and Irish royalty. I asked my mom about our Native American ancestors. I researched the cultures of those who came before. Hoping that somehow, with their blood in my veins, I had an identity there. My family didn't hold any of the traditions of our ethnicity.

I put that aside, along with the desire to change my name to something more Irish - Dierdre was one of my choices for those who are interested. I settled into a life with my husband and daughter. But somewhere there was a lack of connection. I wanted to belong, to know that I had become the woman God wanted me to be. It had been so long since those days in the woods with the Weaver and His security. One night, as I stood on my deck, I heard, "Walkabout." It resonated in my soul.

I began spending a lot of time thinking about the place I was born, Tucumcari, NM. A dot on the map that used to have Route 66 running right through it. Every time the icy blast of Minnesota winter, I thought about the desert at sunset. Every time a friend didn't call I thought of the wave from everyone on the street. Surely, there, I could complete this walkabout. My father was there. Horses, the mountains, and dry summers all called to me. I talked to my husband and he reluctantly agreed to move there. I kept hearing, "walkabout." I should have taken the hint then.

This spring the worst thing that I have dreaded for the length of my marriage happened, my husband decided he wanted a divorce. I sat on my deck a few nights later. Through the tears, I read a passage in the New Testament about Jesus going into the desert. "Walkabout." It came once more. I couldn't believe I hadn't seen it before. It hadn't been a literal walkabout. I need to go with God into the desert and let him show me how to be the woman He wanted me to be. It was all so clear.

Before the Israelites entered the land God had for them, He lead them through the wilderness. Before Jesus began His ministry, He went out into the wilderness. There He was tempted and then ministered to. God speaks in Hosea about how He "will allure her [Israel], /Bring her into the wilderness / And speak kindly to her." Again and again God chooses the wilderness to shape His people, to love His people, and to heal His people.

I am still in the midst of my walkabout. But the healing has begun. I am learning to trust Him.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Time for something new

I once heard insanity defined as continuing in the same course of action and expecting a different result. I guess that means I have been insane for the last several years. The only difference is that it was so much my actions as it was my mindset that was stagnant. I have been going along with a thought pattern about myself that was less than desirable. I have even been going along with thought pattern about God that did no service to either one of us.

I watched the most recent version of Alice in Wonderland with Johnny Depp over the summer with my daughter. I enjoyed the movie with her three times before something in the dialogue struck me. Absolum tells Alice that all he said was that she was "not hardly" Alice when they met in the forest. As she frets over meeting the odious Jabberwocky and all that is expected of the champion status thrust upon her, he tells her she is "almost Alice."

Brewing at the back of my mind was a thought, have I been living as if I were not hardly Fancey. Upon the fourth or fifth viewing (my daughter really loves this movie), I listened as the Mad Hatter tells Alice she has "lost her muchness." When I say I listened, I mean that I really listened. Once upon a time, I had a conversation with my husband about how I was coming back to myself while doing a play at the community college in Cambridge, MN. I hadn't realized until then I had gone anywhere. But that return was short lived. Life intervened, as it so often does. In short, I, like Alice, had felt the pressure of all that was expected of me and lost my muchness.

Now, on the brink of a divorce I am not desirous of, I am gaining back some of my muchness. I am still not hardly Fancey. But I hope to very soon be at least almost Fancey with the help of God - for He's the only one who really could help with this sort of thing. This realization has taken great pains on his part to show me. After an emotional walkabout, I have seen that I really haven't trusted Him totally. But that is for another post.