Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What It's All About

Sometimes we don't know we're being watched, but we are, and that's a good thing.  At least, it's turned out to be a good thing for me, of late.  I think we all go through life, going about our business, doing what we do based on our beliefs, values, ideas, and priorities.  We don't often stop to think about how others perceive us.  Well, at least I don't.  I'm very comfortable and content with my life.  I know who I am, what I'm about, and what matters--at least most of the time.  I'm not trying to be "cool" or "hip"---though of course, I am, (ha ha), or even like everyone else.  I'm just "Lori".  However, it does not occur to me that I "wear" certain things for the world to see, whether that is my intention or not.

It's been interesting being here in Mallorca these past few weeks.  I'm a student again for the summer, taking intense graduate-level courses, and getting to know people from all over the world.  I've had, and have been privy to, some very interesting conversations and have had the pleasure of talking with people who have ideas very different from my own.  It's been great---albeit uncomfortable in moments-- and has given me a lot to think about!  I've also chatted with people who seem to be right on my wave-length in a number of ways, which has also been great.  I go to class, chat with people, do my work, and study.  Once in awhile I'll attend a social function.  The point is, I'm pretty low-key.  I'm not "out there" in any way, shape, or form.  Just doing my thing, focusing on my goals.

What has been really cool---and kind of enlightening for me---are the little unexpected conversations I've had along the way.  Out of nowhere, seemingly, very thoughtful people have come up to me and complimented me.  Whether or not that's their intention, I don't know, but they have mentioned that they love how I talk about my family, how I look at my husband, or how passionate I am about my kids.  I've had people say they can tell I love being married or that I love being a Mom. The first few times, I was surprised, wondering what exactly they were actually referring to.  (I'm not suggesting that mobs of people are approaching me---quite the contrary---but it's enough that I've taken notice---just a few thoughtful people who have made a point of coming up to me just to tell me they have felt something when they have been around me.)  Needless to say, I've teared up a few times since being here.  Those compliments have meant a lot to me and have really made me examine myself.

I've thought a great deal about it and I guess what they feel when they are around me is LOVE.  I do, indeed, love my family.  That's not news, but the fact that people whom I've just met can feel the depth of that, was news to me.  I can chat about linguistic theory, language acquisition, and cultural foundations of education with the best of them, but I guess I do always find a way to weave a story about my family in there!  How on earth can I relate things that seem impossibly unrelated?  Through the subconscious desire to make everything I do be about everything I love.  I had not realized how much I wear my "I AM ALL ABOUT MY FAMILY" badge, but apparantely  I do, even when I'm not necessarily talking directly about them.

I do not have all the answers about life.  I see a lot of complicated things in the world and things are not always black and white.  Navigating this life takes real thought and an active heart, if that makes sense.  I'm not at peace about everything around me, but I always have peace about what it's all about for me.  It is all about FAMILY.  There's just nothing better, and I am grateful that if I reflect anything at all to those around me, it's that.  

We had such a fantastic time on our recent trip to Utah.  Our kids have grown up in sub-tropical Guangzhou, so the concept of autumn w...