When You Feel Like You Might Be The Only One
Today, as I was performing the monthly monotonous task of reconciling all of our spending for the month, I came across transactions from the city where we recently moved from. Reminders of our favorite local coffeeshop, the organic grocery, and the thai restaurant with the best red curry in the world were suddenly paramount, bringing with them feelings of sadness mixed with a strange homesickness. How can you be homesick for a place you only lived a few months?
I recently moved from Portland, Oregon back to Fort Worth, Texas. As you can well imagine, I am experiencing some culture shock. With the move, not only have I changed my climate, distance to the coast, and proximity to mountains, but I have also gone from being politically in the majority to the minority; from happily tossing my compost in the compost bin, my recycling in the recycling bin, and whatever small amount is left over in the trash to the land of the reluctant recycler; from “fitting in my own skin” to having to defend my every view and choose my words ever so carefully.
I think the polarity I find myself in now has become even more clear with recent events in our world and the responses I have seen to those events.
After the tragedy in Paris, the governor of my state wrote an open letter to the president stating that he would not let any more Syrian refugees into “his” state. Last week, after the shootings in San Bernardino, I did not see cries for gun control or more strict regulations on assault rifles, I saw Facebook posts about “defending your second amendment rights”. People around me cheer as certain presidential candidates call for muslims to be denied access to our country, for refugees to be turned away at the door, for compassion to be revoked; for the country founded on a principle of religious freedom to turn away people because of their religion.
Along with my sorrow for these sentiments, I feel like I have also lost my tribe. I have lost the brief, but oh-so-wonderful experience I had of congregational outrage and righteous indignation at injustice. I think when we finally find our “people”, we see the glories of being understood without having to desperately search people out. And its liberating.
But there is a silver lining here.
I do not blend in anymore.
I am one of few, not one of many.
My voice matters, because my voice is different.
And that voice *could* change something.
These realizations help me move on when I feel discouraged, when I read one too many comments on a news article, or when I feel I am the only one with an opinion different from the masses. Let them encourage you also - use your voice, speak your convictions, because you might be someone else’s realization or invitation that there is another way. To quote Sarah Bessey: