Saturday 14 April 2012

Baby Steps and Leaps of Faith

Leaps of faith sometimes need to start with baby steps. Frankly, I’m a little tired of walking in circles, which seem to continuously pull me back in and keep me stagnant and unable to move ahead. If you are confused, that’s a good thing. It may mean you are paying attention.

Sometimes, it’s really hard being seemingly isolated and cut off from the world by geography. It can be a lonely existence, and it can be incredibly frustrating. I moved to Canada some 12 years ago now, and whilst many good things have occurred in that time, in hindsight, many more bad or negative things have occurred.
I have had the feeling for some time now that I just don’t fit in around here. I am speaking about my physical location, not my cyber world. People seem different here – their value of friendship and their focus on building those lasting relationships seems almost completely non-existent. It’s the reason for my recent post about friendships.

Im a pretty sociable guy, and love to spend time with people in social environments. I enjoy the company of others, for laughter, discussion, debate and camaraderie. I enjoy having people around me and being their support and having them for support. But I have recently been made painfully aware that those in my physical proximity do not share the high value I place in friendships with me. A number of recent incidents have proven this, time and again, and it really makes my heart sink. I have wondered if this is a ’North American’ thing or if it’s just this area In particular.

And now I find myself in a rather emotionally precarious position. I have ties here that have kept me bound close, but I have found myself feeling trapped, isolated and, quite frankly, miserable. And past experiences have added to that in ways I don’t care to describe. Besides the complete deficit of a viable job market here, and being faced with personal milestones of age, perhaps I have the strength left to try something, and indeed somewhere, new.

Going back to South Africa is not really an option for me. Its entirely a different country now to when I left it 12 years ago, and I have watched with dismay the struggles of friends of mine who have returned there from abroad after years of absence. And so I have been looking at other locales and countries, and, most specifically, the United Kingdom. This is an attractive draw in many ways, it’s always been one of the few places in the world I have felt I wanted to see – and perhaps settle in. I would already have a fairly large sized social structure (between ex-pat South Africans and the myriad of British people I know), and has a much more active cultural job market than I have seen in Canada (or North America for that matter) which, as many of you know, is my trade.

But then I started a correspondence with someone on the other side of Canada. Suddenly something was stirred down in me that wasn’t just gas. Suddenly I started seeing images of my ideal home life again. Clear images, different from the ones which I found totally destroyed and decimated last year, which have sparked a semblance of hope for me. I can picture myself in my idea of bliss at home again, and it’s truly encouraging.

But it has some downsides too. Firstly – my incredible amount of fear and trepidation of being hurt again like I was last year. The pain of that still haunts me, and still terrifies me. And the idea of opening up my heart as it is want to do is really scary. And yet the heart seems to do as it pleases and the mind be damned. My heart is being pulled and drawn as it often is to someone far from me.

Other drawbacks include, but are not limited to, leaving behind and breaking the ties that have held me here for so long, as well as the prospect of trying, yet again, to completely re-establish myself in yet another entirely new environment. For those of you who have never left your home town, state or, for that matter country, may not have a clue as to how incredibly difficult that can be. And it truly is – leaving behind a myriad of people you know you will never see again… ever.

And so here I am at that junction again. Facing the possibility of moving across the country to what I see as a future – which, while not clearly defined and laid out in stone, appears, for all intents and purposes, to be my best option. Going where I have never been before and hoping and praying that it is a good decision.
Now before you panic – I’m not a total fool. I haven’t already packed my bags and sold off most of my assets (meager as they are), although that is possibly on the horizon, nor have I purchased a one way ticket. My plan is to first visit there and spend some time with this person and see how we gel in person. I honestly don’t see us having much issue, but past experiences have proven me wrong. So  my baby steps are starting here. A few weeks visit in the next few months, and then depending on the outcome of  that,  returning home to take a leap of faith and relocate.

It’s ironic that I find myself again prepared to do this for someone. Last year, I would have given  up everything to be with someone, who turned out not to want me, nor prepared to have a go at making it work. My heart is fully torn because of that. It is now leading me down that path again – taking me back to that preparedness to give up everything to spend (hopefully) the rest of my life with someone I have not yet even met.

I have to remind myself that leaps of faith are what has brought about the progress of man through the ages. Some have gone against the established norms in their beliefs that what they are doing is right, others have boldly gone where no man has gone before. It’s scary, its unknown – but that’s why it’s called faith, isn’t it?

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