Does anyone ever “find themselves”?

DSCN0942“I hear it all the time, young people dropping out of school, quitting their jobs to “go find themselves”. But I ask you, have you ever heard of anyone coming back saying “I did it, I found myself?” Of course not!”

Tony Campolo was arguing that we need to stick to our communities rather than venture out on a quest for self discovery. It was at the conference with Shane Claiborne, who invited me and my husband to join him with our music and story-telling.

Tony Campolo’s words kept echoing in my mind. I felt deeply lost. For two years I had been collaborating with the New Monasticism. I played celtic story-telling music with biblical themes and spoke at conferences, sharing theological insights and tales from life on the road. But my marriage was disintegrating, my faith deteriorating, I was struggling with depression, despair, and as I learned later, post traumatic stress symptoms. Road life had not been kind to me.

I remember sitting on the sharp St. Augustine grass just outside of the front doors, close to tears. I felt lost between two worlds, too hurt to continue in this ministry but not desolate enough to be one of the people the New Monastic community reaches out to. But somehow Tony Campolo’s talk stirred something inside me and I said to my husband: “You know, I will do it. I will go out and I will find myself. Someday I will say “I did it, I found myself!””

I was in my late twenties but before I could begin my quest, I had to deal with the shock of my husband’s affairs and his decision to divorce me. I turned 30 suddenly a divorcee, without a ministry, my vision for our life together destroyed. I moved half way across the world, followed a false “guru”, and stumbled through confusion and pain.

And yet piece by piece my fractured self came back together and healed. I discovered where my true musical blood runs, I found where my passions had been buried, I realized I had a voice, I discovered my inner power, I learned what it meant to really fall in love, and I saw how all of the pieces of my life fit together in harmony.

I am thirtythree now and I discovered my first grey hair last month. The road has been long and hard, but it has not been a dead end. I draw infinite strength and joy from place this road has taken me. Does anyone ever “find themselves”? I don’t know how many people do. Maybe Tony Campolo’s words describe many a seeker, but as for me, I can now look you in the eye and say with my deepest conviction: “Here I am, I did it, I have found myself.”

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About Annika Mongan

As a born-again Christian minister I set out to convert Pagans. But through years of traveling and studying I became alienated from fundamentalism and found a new home in Witchcraft. Today I celebrate being born again and again, a lifelong cycle of transformation. A few years ago I founded an intentional Pagan community in California and am now in the process of networking and building an eco village. I love getting out into nature. During rainy seasons I am an avid mushroom hunter, in the summer I enjoy hiking, swimming, camping, and playing music around campfires. When I am not busy doing interfaith work or volunteering for too many events, I spend a lot of time studying and writing about religion. My writing can be found at Cross and Pentacle on www.pagansquare.com and I write as the Born Again Witch on the Pagan channel at www.Patheos.com.
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6 Responses to Does anyone ever “find themselves”?

  1. I found myself… I wasn’t even looking. I don’t think you have to look. You have conflated life’s tribulations with you making some journey. pffft

    we all will realize who we are, the trick is whether we are happy with it or not. Finding yourself is as easy as stopping the looking process.

  2. Judy says:

    I like what you wrote. I have always been creative, but decided to change my life two years ago by playing my guitar again. I actually did find myself. I wrote songs to help me and ended up listening to my own lyrics! My songs gave me the courage to end my marriage, too. It is amazing how life can change and I never expected I could turn my life around after the age of 50. Good luck to you! Keep looking and you will find.

    • gypsika says:

      Thanks, Judy!
      It can be hard to really follow one’s own path, but it is so worth it, isn’t it? It sounds like you have had quite a journey, too. Kudos to you for continuing your journey no matter when in life.

  3. Diana says:

    I was able to find myself after I turned 30 as well, I am hoping that it doesn’t take my daughter that long to find herself. She is still lost and I and no one can tell her how to find what she is missing. I just pray every day that someday, sooner rather than later she will find what she is looking for…I am so very happy that you found yourself. For the two of you finding yourselves is awesome albeit a part, but at least the journey has been made and you both have found what you were missing….Kudos my sister, kudos…. 🙂

    • gypsika says:

      Thanks! It it so hard watching someone who is lost and feeling so powerless when you can’t really do anything about it. I really hope you see a turn-around there soon, too!

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