Just last night I gave my first speech for Toastmasters. That’s a club where members learn and practice giving speeches. The first required presentation is called the Icebreaker, where you (basically) introduce yourself to the group. Since it is as good a description as any I can come-up with, here is my introduction, to (from?) myself.
I found an encouraging quote from C.S. Lewis early in my college career: “God makes each soul unique. If he had no use for all these differences I do not see why he should have created more souls than one. Be sure the ins and outs of your individuality are no mystery to Him; and one day they will no longer be a mystery to you.”
I’m still in the process of de-mystifying, but here are three of the most significant categories in my life: First, my “unchangings,” being a Christian, wife and a mother; second, my business efforts; and third, language and music.
I call the first category my “unchangings” b/c they are things I have made decisions about, and I live the rest of my life within this framework. For example, as a committed Christian, I have developed a world-view that affects all the other elements of my universe. By believing in a God that is intimately involved in my tiny human existence, I believe the choices I make matter to him, and so are important.
As a wife and mother, I am the manger and keeper of my home, and my children are my long-term project. They are an investment I pour in to daily that I pray will produce great dividends for the world around me, and for a more eternal kingdom. My current dividends are small: a snuggle, or one child being spontaneously kind to the other. Their desire to sing was a larger and earlier dividend than I guessed it would be.
Sometimes feeling in conflict to the time I must spend with my children is the fledgling business of Gordian Knot Productions. I wanted to call it Gordian Knot something, because I had these fabulous quilts I could make and use for the logo, but also because the story of the gordian knot is a story about finding a new or unusual solution to a problem that was presumed unsolvable. GKP is about telling stories, and using stories to teach, and it is also about Teaching the Fertility Awareness Method– a behavioral form of birth control, that it seems most people have never heard of.
The most curious part of myself to me, probably b/c it is the least defined, is my writing and music; what might be described as my “artistic” side, or self-expression, though sometimes those categories fit about as well as me trying to describe my naturally blond hair as self-expression. All of these are more about who I am; part of the way I view myself and interact with the world:
I write long letters, dabble in fiction, and have been coerced, occasionally, to write poems. I’ve never written a song, but music, especially singing, has been a part of my world longer than I can remember. I come from a family of singers, and used to be convinced anyone could sing. It was as natural as talking. (easier, in fact, b/c you don’t have to wonder what you’re saying next– it’s already decided) There is a quote that’s been on my wall for the last 8-years or more: “For me, music exists to elevate us as far as possible above every-day existence.”
Because my talent in singing is genetic and was acquired through absorption, rather than discipline, I’ve always felt like less of a musician than friends who’ve actually studied. Mainly because of this I’ve been teaching myself piano and guitar. The process has been a long one, squeezed as it is between the more pressing pursuits of family and business, but it is sweet.
It reminds me of another quote that was good for me to find recently. Also from C.S. Lewis: “The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s “own” or real life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life– the life God is sending one, day by day.”