Happy Being Me by Robynn
Last year I participated in an Eight Day Ignatian Silent Retreat. I’m wearing the same t-shirt today and it brought back this memory. I think it was on day six of the retreat, Father Daniel from Quebec, broke silence to compliment me on my Canadian shirt, “Heh nice shirt!” It made me laugh out loud before responding, “thanks!”
It is quite a nice t-shirt as far as t-shirts go. It’s a lovely shade of chocolate brown made of bamboo and organic cotton. A small locally owned company in St Catherines, Ontario have the Canadian-made shirts brought in and then they print on them any design you want. I chose the distinctive red and white Canadian flag. Under every design they write, “Happy Being Me.”
Identity has always been an issue for me.
It exasperates me to admit it’s still somewhat of an issue and I’m in my forties. I have a Canadian passport. I was born in Prince George, British Columbia. We moved 19 times before we moved to Pakistan when I was nearly nine. My parents were missionaries there for 23 years. I attended an international boarding school with 20 different nationalities among 220 students. When I was 18 I graduated from there and moved back to Saskatchewan, a central province on the vast Canadian Prairie, to attend college.
After living one year in Vancouver, BC and then another in Three Hills, AB, I married Lowell Bliss from Manhattan, KS. We packed up and moved to India 8 months after we were married. During our time there we lived in three different homes over a 13 year period. Two of our children were born there. One was born during one of our visits back to Kansas.
And now 6 years ago we returned to the United States. We’ve settled again in Manhattan, Kansas. I still hold a Canadian passport and to that I’ve added a small plastic US residency card. Our children have dual citizenship. They are American and they are Canadian. My extended family all live in Canada. Most of my husband’s family live here.
Part of the grace I received on last year’s silent retreat is the astounding realization that I belong to God. He knows me. He knows everywhere I’ve been, everywhere I’ll go. I don’t have to explain any of it. He knows. And still He loves me. Deeply. Completely. Utterly. And He calls me by name. I am His.
Surely my identity can rest in that. I belong to Him. It doesn’t erase all my longings but certainly it gives me space and safety to begin to articulate those longings.
So last year when Father Daniel saw the Canadian flag on my shirt and broke silence to say, “Heh, nice shirt”– I looked down and I saw “Happy Being Me” and I didn’t even try to explain. I smiled and said, “thanks!”
10 thoughts on “Happy Being Me”
WOW! I find it tremendously difficult to tell the TCK story across the boundaries of faith and culture…you do it quite well! What a gift! What an encouragement! Thank you!
Love this post! I am 100% Australian, lived here my whole life, except for the 6 months I spend in Africa. But the love that God has placed on my heart for the people of India and Nepal makes me ache to be back in their country. Sometimes because of this I struggle with a sense of where do I belong, when I belong here, but want to belong there…I guess we just need to be happy with who we are, identity struggles and all and trust that God will direct our paths
the new staff have arrived and some are also TCK. i got asked if i felt american. it was interesting (have UK citizenship and passport, born in US) i like being a citizen of heaven….. there’s a song that goes ‘Home is Heaven and it’s where I wanna be’…. one day, one day.
I think I love the people who have mixed up nationalities and identities the best! Variety is the spice of life and God moves us out of our box so much it’s best not to have a box. xx
Here here! I second this! Beautiful! ……and ‘nice shirt!’
Robynn, at one time or another most of us suffer an identity crisis. Circumstances and culture try to define us. Thank God He has identified us and we know who we are, don’t we? It is written in Jer. 1:5, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.” Isaiah 43:1,b: “I have called you by your name; You are Mine.” “Happy being Me” is a wonderful definition. Thanks.
Sometimes I wish the blog world had access to facebook’s “like” button. I would click on it now. I liked your response. Thanks Bettie.
As one who also struggles I loved this post. For woven through all the countries, all the moves, all the places, and all the people is God’s story of you and his love for you. I found this tremendously encouraging. Love you Robynn
Thank you Marilyn. Admittedly, it’s God’s story for me that I sometimes fight against. Alas…..