Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Compass: Finding my Way Home

Compass Block: a foray into applique...
(pardon the too long green point top left...I'll rotate the block when I get to connecting blocks into rows)
College. A time for sorting out, finding yourself, learning stuff, and growing up from teen to adult, that four year bridge from the child you were to the adult you will be.

Isn't that what it really is for most of us? Sure, sure, we're learning whatever skills are necessary to the degree we're pursuing, the career we hope to have but it seems to me that what college was really about was finding myself. At least for me.

And that's what this block is about -- the things, people, places and experiences that all helped me find my way home, back to who I wanted to be.

This block contains a lot of symbolism -- every color, and positioning of the points, is symbolic. Tied up in this block are tributes to my college, my now husband, and a trip to New York City, with myself as the center disc, finding my way.

The details of my journey, of what got me lost in the first place, aren't particularly important or suited for public viewing, but suffice it to say I hit a point in college where I wasn't sure what I wanted from life or who I wanted to be. That lostness hit crisis point just before a summer long mission trip to New York City, which turned out to be a really good thing.

If you've ever taken a trip, alone, to a distant city you'll understand this. For ten weeks I was paired up with a stranger as we worked as Sunday School teachers, Vacation Bible School leaders, and in general mentors to the youth of an inner city church in Queens. We had a lot of down time, and so I had plenty of time to reflect, and think, and pray, and try to sort out where to go next.

I'd left many things up in the air back home, and those ten weeks of introspection were incredibly healing for me. I learned a lot about myself, discovered strengths I didn't know I had, realized which passions were fleeting and which were not.

Once back at school, I started to see more clearly who my friends were and who I was in relation to them. New York had seeped into my soul, and I knew I could never forget it, nor would I ever be the same as I was before. Some people accepted that change in me, some did not. Some encouraged the passions that had floated to the forefront, some ignored them as fleeting or insignificant, as the silly dreams of a silly girl.

As I tried to understand what to do with all that I'd learned about myself, there was one person more than any other who just loved me and let me work it out, not trying to change me, not trying to talk me out of who I was becoming, not trying to force his ideas onto my psyche. He stayed in the background, where I'd sent him, and stayed my friend through everything. And yet, with all of the changes going on, my heart kept calling out to him. Eventually I realized this about myself -- that my heart, my soul, my self was calling out to my way home. Like the needle of a compass pointing to true north.

And so it was that, though I had actually broken up with The Chemist, and though we spent ten months not dating during college, and though it took me still a few months after returning from New York, that I finally recognized what he had known all along -- that who I truly was, at the very core of my being, more than anything else, was his other half (and he mine). That even though I came back changed after New York, even though I had new ideas and passions and plans for my life, there was one thing I couldn't bear to change: us.

And so in the end, with all the lessons I'd learned in college, with all of who I'd become during those four years, with all of the growth that happened over a summer in New York, I followed my heart, the needle of my compass, and found my way Home at last.

Did you ever have a time of finding yourself? Did what you found, surprise you? 


  1. I really love this block and its meaning. I think that the wonkiness of the compass makes it kind of special. Sometimes the directions we take in life are a little imperfect, right? And your story about you and the Chemist made me smile. Makes me want to hug my husband when he gets home tonight. :-)

  2. Love the block and love you and the Chemist. I'm still trying to find myself. lol

  3. Great story and I like the placement/colour and design :)

  4. Now aren't you glad I made you fill out your college paperwork. Man, the kicking and screaming were unbelievable! (How do I not remember the NY trip? The story sounds familiar, but I thought it was someone else. Geeze, I must have been self absorbed!)