A little before my trip to Honduras I decided to sit and try and write about my recent trip home to New Guinea. It was meant to be a story about my adventures but this is what came out...
I feel compelled to write. I’m afraid that my trip to New Guinea will be for not. I will forget. I won’t have learned anything and it will all fade away. I’m afraid that it is already too late and what I write now will never be enough.
I must write. It must be enough. It is all I have.
I lived there most of my life. It was more home to me than anywhere else. Though I often have struggled to answer the question, “where are you from?” I have finally decided that since PNG is where I feel most at home, that will be where I will say I am from. I’ve wrestled these last 10 years with the differences between me and so many people around me who grew up so differently. I have tried to become one of them; I often did this growing up as we traveled so around the country. I got pretty good at it. I can blend and fade into the background and become whatever this or that group of people want me to be. I long to be normal and accepted and approved by my peers. If I may be dramatic, I think I stuck the jungle boy in a cage so he couldn’t cause any more problems.
The jungle boy roamed free for those weeks in my homeland. The jungles invited me to come and make my home in its embrace and the oceans begged me to come and play in its depths. I was awakened and I felt just a little more free.
I say a little more because I know that I will never truly be at peace or free simply because I returned home. I have found that the jungle boy is part of me and I cannot continue to stifle what is an integral part. It must come out. At times it may be “weird” or “strange” but if it doesn’t come out I will never longer be whole, but only a shell representing something else.
I think in some ways, this is what my trip was about. I don’t really know all the reasons that I was there or if there are even specific reasons why things happen the way they do, but this is what I see.
In some way long ago I was lost in the jungles of PNG. I was young. I was naive. I trusted and I believed that people cared. Afterward I became cynical and jaded. However you want to view these events, this is the way I see it-I trusted people who were meant to love me and they let me down. I wanted them to care. I felt like they didn’t care. So I stopped caring. This is when I was lost. This is not a condemnation of those people. I don’t know why they didn’t care. Or at the least why I didn’t feel their love, but that is how I experienced it.
Looking back I don’t think they knew how to show me their love. I’m not blaming anyone for my own choices. I am the one who chose to pull away in my hurt and banish a part of me because of it.
Since the day I was lost I have wandered this planet somewhat aimlessly. There was an ideal. I would love and be loved in return. We would care about each other. There was connection and relationship. This sense of family kept me innocent and hopeful for the future. Before this bubble burst I believed in unconditional love. Maybe this is too much to ask of any human. Maybe this ideal isn’t meant to last. I don’t know… all this happened when I was very young.
When I was lost I didn’t believe in love. I didn’t love. I didn’t know love of any meaningful form. I lost all sensitivity and feelings became grey and muted. I longed and then I deadened. I ached and then I distracted. I lived distracted. I learned to become a master of my imagination. I built another world to hide in where people gave me what I wanted and I was in control. I thought control was the answer. I built walls around the jungle boy and painted them with images of the smart one, the good one and above all the Christian one. The people around me looked up to the Christian ones so I tried to be one of them. I began to look like them but I was slowly rotting away on the inside.
My biggest deception has been the idea that I can live a lie. I have discovered that this is not life, but only an existence of slow decay and excruciating death.
Honesty has become my friend. I find freedom in its company and only chains and misery in the shadows of the lies that I have lived. Many of these lies still haunt me today. When the boy got lost in the jungle I started to live a lie. I thought that maybe I could be someone else. That maybe if I was someone else I would be loved. Anything that I ever did that was in question was slowly eradicated from my life. It took time. It was a process, a slow suffocating of large parts of my soul. My emotions were expunged one at a time. In the end even happiness was muted and laughter distorted into an uneasy nervous chuckle. I was playing a game to get what I wanted. Approval, acceptance and love were the carrots before the horse. I didn’t know that I had only to stop running to receive my prize. I never realized that the love I had my sights on could never quite satisfy but that there was indeed unconditional love to be found when I was ready to stop running and just be.
The next night...
I am uneasy and I can’t find rest. There is no peace in me. I feel compelled. I want to sleep but my mind won’t stop. This story has been waiting to come out for too long. Locked up inside pounding at the wall surrounding my soul-the boy wants to be heard.
The truth must come out. There is freedom to be had. I have tasted it. It is real. Unconditional love does exist. I have felt it. It shook me and broke me and overwhelmed my tired soul. I wept the first time I felt that love. Now I know that I only allowed a crack in the wall and what I felt was but the beginning of life.
I move slow and methodical in everything I do. My walls took years to build and they have taken years to penetrate. Sometimes, like tonight, I am moved and compelled to act and I don’t understand why but I do. I open up a little. I let some light in to reveal the truth. More often I live in the fog. I don’t live in the darkness anymore. I found my way to some light. This is hope. Yet I resist. I wait. I ponder if I might still find another way. I often stay where it is cold and dim and where things are still somewhat muted, in the partial truth. I believe. I still doubt. I still distrust. I don’t want to step out and be vulnerable. I stopped hoping in love because I was tired of being vulnerable. There is pain there. Why would I want pain? I’ve had enough of pain. Yet I know that there is never love without pain. So I cry out for pain and hope for love.