Sunday, June 17, 2012

New Eyes

As I look back on 10 months of joys and challenges, laughter and tears, I have been thinking a lot about what it means to be returning to my homes in the states, both for me and for the people I am returning home to.  Over the course of the next few weeks, I will be posting a few blogs that reflect on the ways I have changed, what I need you to know about my experience and what will be helpful to me as I go through some reverse culture shock and the grieving process for the end of the part of my YAGM experience.

It is no secret that I love the Decorah based artists StoryPeople.  They are my Facebook status updates, one of the calendars hanging in my room.  As mentioned in a previous blog, I love receiving my daily StoryPeople and even used StoryPeople as the basis for my senior chapel at Luther.   I also love being able to share StoryPeople and converting them to StoryPeople lovers.   This year I have managed to convert my fellow Beit Sahour Lutheran School YAGM Courtney to the way of StoryPeople so much that she decided to write her own which reads: 
Top of Form

"I want to take one of your eyes & give you one of mine,
 she said, because then when I look at the world
I can see what you see
 & when I look in the mirror
 I can see you."

This “CourtneyPeople” was a result of several conversations we have had, with each other and with other people, about the fact that we will soon be leaving this place that over the past year we have learned to call home.   As the school year came to an end last week, we had to start the hard process of saying good-bye and reflecting on the ways we have changed over the past year.

As I think about returning to the states, I know I am returning with new eyes.   This year has taught me to look with new eyes and has challenged me to see what others see when they look at the world.  I have spent the year living in a place with a variety of narratives, some which get told more often than other, and as hard has this has been, it has taught me to always wonder if there is a side of the story that I am not hearing and to look for this story.

These new eyes impact not only the way I see the external world but also the way that I see myself.  YAGM will always be one of the experiences that when I look in the mirror I will see as a part of who I am and the person I am becoming.  When I look in the mirror I will see not only my face but all the faces that have become a part of my story and I will wonder how my life and my story is honoring the hospitality and grace they have shown me this year. 

Just like when coming inside from a sunny day or turning on a light in the middle of the night, it takes some time for your eyes to adjust to the new light, I know that these eyes will take some time to re-adjust to being in a new place.  I ask for your patience as my eyes adjust and as my eyes continue to adapt to this new way of being.  At the same time I ask for your patience, I also hope that you will ask me questions, push me to explain, challenge me to continue to see more and I will do the same in an attempt to share some of what these new eyes have seen this year.    

1 comment:

  1. Alma - I am so happy to have met you during your YAGM year! Blessings on your processing, goodbyes and re-orientation. I look forward to reading what you have to say about the new eyes which you (and Courtney) write so eloquently. You are going to be a great pastor! Kirsten