31
Jan
12

in the middle

It’s 2:22 in the morning, and our 12 day old son Marcus has decided that Daddy doesn’t need much sleep this night. Maybe he’s right. I have a hard time sleeping anyway. Lots of thoughts about my place in this world seem to be going in circles. My wife just warned me to not go in through the door called ‘despair’ that we both know is in this room of thoughts and questions. She knows and I know what’s behind that door. I have often walked through that door when I’ve wrestled with questions of belonging as I do this early morning. It’s not a good place to go to. There is nothing to gain behind that door. Or behind the door next to it titled ‘hopelessness’ for that matter.

So instead I choose to listen to my heart and the questions I find there. Earlier tonight I found myself doing a round of Facebook-stalking of friends, acquaintances, and random people who don’t have a very high security level on their profiles. Don’t judge me. You do it too. And I left that tour feeling rather lonely. Without a group to belong to. I used to wear that as a badge of honor that I didn’t belong to a group. That was part of being young and independent minded. I loved playing the devil’s advocate no matter what people were talking about. And I loved being seen as ‘unique’. Now, I feel more unique and different than ever, but it’s not something I’m longing for. Big parts of me wish I belonged with other people in some kind of group. I wish I could associate myself with any sort of group and say that I firmly agree with everything they stand for. I can’t, however. I’ve written about it previously that when it comes to theology and the things of life with Jesus, I’m most definitely not able to find a group or even a person to fully associate myself with. Sometimes people ask me for my theological point of view on this or that, and I rarely know what to say. It’s not that I’m more wishy-washy than I was 15 years ago. It’s not that I’ve lost my cutting edge since I turned 35 a few days ago and officially entered the fairly un-sexy group called ‘people in their mid-thirties’. I feel passion like never before inside of me. I see Jesus setting me more and more on fire for truth. But I can’t seem to find a group to associate myself with. I feel like I’m stuck in the middle somewhere.Too liberal for the conservatives. Too conservative for the liberals. Not hip enough for the trendy. Way trendy for the hicks.

Having lived in three different countries, England, Ukraine and the United States, these past 8 years, and having spent time in more than 40 other countries doesn’t make the pursuit of finding a place to belong easier. I’ve experienced that strongly these last few weeks since our beautiful son (I promise to write more about him later on!) was born. I love that I truly, without it being an empty cliché, know people all over the world. I love that people from more than 20 nations were celebrating Marcus’ birth with my wife and I on Facebook and through emails. But the reality of having friends all over the world. The reality of being married to a person from a different country than my own. The reality of constant traveling and experiences that most people will never be able to understand. All of those realities are part of me feeling stuck in my own little world. I love that I’m a world citizen. I love that my perspective is global. I love all of that, but it also makes life lonely at times. Even though they wish they could be here with us, we didn’t have friends from Denmark, Ukraine, Hungary, Nigeria, the Philippines, Sweden, Germany come to visit us and celebrate our son’s birth. It just didn’t happen. So feelings of loneliness creep in. Feelings of belonging anywhere and not belonging anywhere. It’s part of God’s gifts to me that I’ve never been a stranger in any of the many countries I’ve had the privilege of visiting. I love that. I love how comfortable I feel all over the world. But that’s also part of what makes me harder to relate to.

I’m in the middle. I don’t know how to associate myself with a group of any kind. I admire people who can do it. I honestly do. The types who ‘like’ lots of pages on Facebook and feel connected to other people who do the same in cyber space or in real life. I don’t ‘like’ many groups. I just don’t. I don’t even know what to do with myself in grace circles these days. I see things differently from other people. And again I see that I used to be proud of that fact. Now, I don’t have to be different anymore. I wouldn’t mind agreeing with lots of people about lots of things. I just don’t. I find myself in the middle. In the middle of nowhere.

I’m glad that I’ve found Christ in the middle of nowhere. He is fairly unique too. And he’s been crazy enough to create me the way I’m created and invite me on these different journeys that have helped shape who I am and what I believe. He likes me. Just the way I am. He will always like me, even if I never find a group to belong to. Even if I never start sentences with “we believe…..or we think…” as opposed to “I believe…I think….”.

Some people will read this and see me as just another post-modern fool trying to be different. And 10 years ago I would have agreed (secretly, of course!) with that verdict. But not today. I find less and less pleasure and pride in being different. I just am different, and that’s okay. It remains a dream for me to someday be in some kind of community where true transparency and honesty rules and where I can have a group of people where I can truly share heart aches, pains, questions, concerns, joy and laughter. Until then I’m okay in the middle. With Christ.

Blessings, Torben – who loves being a Daddy, but wonders what my son will think when he reads this in 20 years from now…

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1 Response to “in the middle”


  1. 1 Gorbetd
    August 24, 2013 at 8:49 pm

    I have been reading your blog for the past couple of weeks. I’m not fallowing u day by day, but I started reading what u had to say a few years ago. Its truly meeting me where I am today (8/2013). I love what u have to say, your heart, even your sorrow and worries. It makes me feel more “normal” knowing there is another imperfect God loving, God pursuing, real person out there. Know u r NOT alone. I feel the same. I’m in the middle, my theological thoughts r different, I’m feeling less and less apart of any group. Just me and Jesus chillin’ together.
    Thank u for not confirming outwardly. Thank u for writing and letting God bless others ( like me) with it. I’m thankful knowing I’m not really alone after all.


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