I’ve been reflecting a lot lately on what it means to me to be from America. Not so much what it means politically, socially, or historically. These are all important things, but they mean nothing to my emotional and spiritual experience of growing up in this country. My experience seems based more on developing, being broken, being loved, and loving others in this place I happen to be born in.
I think the answer I have come to is that being American – living in America – doesn’t change who I am. The things that are the most important to me – husband, God, fresh cut flowers, and seasonal sun on my skin will be with me wherever I go.
This is not to say that where I grew up didn’t shape who I am in an enormous way, I guess I just mean that who I am now will not be lost without the comfort of my city, my sunny home, and my community. I would severely ache for the temporary loss of these things that define my current home, but like with everything else in life, out of the brokenness will come growth and a million new experiences.
The only way I was able to process (and continue to process) this question has been through music. So – flashback to high school – i’ve been working on a playlist. Songs that indirectly articulate what being American feels like to me. I know its a bit cheesy, but its been a totally necessary tool for me. You can access the whole playlist here via Rdio, or link to a sample of the songs below. It’s a short list for now, but I plan to add to it as time goes on. Enjoy!