“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.”