Have you ever seen the video to Blind Melon's "No Rain"??
And, it's a visual metaphor that I can relate to. I would imagine many of us can, (?),which is why the video and song were so popular, and the *Bee Girl* captured our hearts.
I could very well have been *The Bee Girl*. Perculiar, and awkward as a child, but always willing to try put me in so many situations where I had to learn flexibility. This in return created skills, both social, and occupational. I tend to embrace the wierd, the outcast, the loser who is simply not sure of who they are or what direction they should go. I'm supposed to, right?
As I have grown spiritually and matured as a person, I can clearly see how my own awkwardness, and social and behavioral quirks have been a blessing. They've allowed me to think outside the box, learn to utilize my creative thinking, make friends with anyone who is willing, and take on bullies, realizing that they are truly the one in need of a friend. The older I have become, the more I've realized that whatever it is about me that makes me a bit peculiar to some, is also my strength.
But recently, I joined an Aspergers awareness group, and as I learn more about what is simply my uniqueness and what is Aspergers-driven behavior, I have noticed a trend for Aspie's to gravitate towards sub-cultures. Probably because they do not feel like they "fit in" with normal everday popular culture? That's my guess.
So, I had to ask myself; "Did I become plain, join the Mennonites, and submerge myself in Anabaptism simply to have a place to belong?".... (chew on that for a minute)
Ultimate Answer: "Does it matter??"
I would say that perhaps we ALL have a desire to fit in somewhere. I wasn't lucky enough to be born into a culture that was accepting of me *as is*. I had to seek and find.
First I was with my Nanny many-a-Sunday among The Pentecostals, as a young girl. I think that may have groomed my perception of what I thought I should desire in a church?
Then I attened the Southern Baptist church for many years. It was good, and I don't have a bad thing to say about the experience, as it helped me understand the Bible, learn memory verses, help the poor, and learn the need to support missions, (God Bless Lottie Moon)
But I do believe I related strongest to The Pentecostals. There was something about being all together as a group- all with similar habits, dress, and lifestyles that beckoned to me. Like a siren to a sailor, like a moth to a flame. I just wanted to belong.
In my younger days, I combed through my geneology, seeking a race or culture to identify with, and yes- something to attach myself to and a place to once again: "BELONG".
You know, like some people can say: "I'm 1/4 Cherokee", (thus attend every Pow-Wow within driving distance and get sneered at by the local tribesmen) or "I'm Greek! Opa!!" Or SOMETHING... ANYTHING! But what I found, is a lot of interesting historical detail, and a legacy of a mutt. I am Scotch-Irish, Welsh, and African American for the most part, but I never got a Pow-Wow or cool drinking habit to claim. I DID find Slave History, but I promise you that I cannot walk around and claim to be black. It would be a slap in the face to any black person who has ever suffered racism. I can only claim the heritage, history, and have some interesting documentation of my GGG Grandmothers *emancipation* from slavery. But not enough of any ONE culture that I can identify with! Darn. Still, I make a good "American" and historically, that's what my descendants will refer to me as.
So, here we are. I have invested a good chunk of my life learning why and what The Anabaptists believe, and trying to serve others in like fashion. Many times I fail horribly. Other times I do ok, and I think God might just be happy with this *odd little bird* He created?
I worried for a while that my drive to BE Anabaptist in lifestyle and worship was not genuine, but more of a desire to fit in somewhere? But upon deep reflection, I think that might be a small part of a bigger pie of possibilities? Greater than that, I confess I have a problem with my enormous temper, my red-neckedness, my quick-wit-ed-ness, (that is usually a gift, but sometimes a curse), and compulsive behavior that rises up like fat in a bean-pot to bite me in the butt when not kept in check. I'm mouthy, stubborn, and don't really believe that we are supposed to **link** every single like-verse in the Bible to apply to what we want it to mean. I usually have an opinion about that too, (thus in trouble again). I am fairly sure there are alien beings if we have thus discovered other universes, but I try not to talk about it at church, unless it's to Eugene & Amanda Ulrich, who love astronomy. They will indulge me.
I also have problems with road rage and poor customer service. Brother Richard Miller and his lovely wife Tina understand me on that point. And I don't always understand the difference between biblical and cultural issues. It's a mind warp for me. Brother Jerry Ulrich and Sister Velma, as well as my adopted family "The Ainsworths" (Howard, Leslie, and brood), have spent hours trying to help me in all my awkwardness. Don't worry, I don't take myself too seriously. We've had loads of laughs over me...LOADS!
I've come to a place where I believe God not only wants me to be where I am, but possibly NEEDS me to just sit and stay, (which is an act of obedience), not just for my own spiritual growth, but also to challenge and sharpen the minds and hearts of those raised within the Anabaptist Culture, to help us all learn acceptance of what is not common amongst us.
Maybe I'm wrong? But I see everyones hearts beating bigger, faster, and yearning to comprehend each other at every service I attend. No, I'm not a member at the Mennonite Church I go to. I likely never will be, because I'm D & R. That's another blog, but let me say: My church does not hold that against me. They just have a bar to keep held high to raise Godly generations. I'm not the norm. They can't make an exception without opening a can of worms. I get that. SO - they love me despite it, and let God lead both my and my husband. They also let me help in the communion and foot washing. It's hard, I admit, but I can sit with the Sisters and watch.. hold towels, and pray with them. Some people would insist that is horrible, or ask;"Why don't you go somewhere else?" I answer: "Because this is where I FEEL God placed me"... that's enough. And because of these people who put into practice much more than I'm able, I am a more BALANCED person. It actually helps me, with my compulsive behavior, out-spoken, mouthy, self... It SEASONS my heart and helps me see the bigger picture. It reminds me to take myself out of the equation, and love people, even people different than myself. It gives me the balance I need to shut up, be humble, and live for others.
I think it's where I belong and God knew what He was doing when he made me *a little different*.
I'd love to hear your thoughts. Do you *fit in*? Do you feel accepted? Are you where God can use you, and mold you more into HIS image? Are you willing to try?
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