Losing yourself

A young boy called Samuel lived in a remote community far away from any permanent buildings and structures.  He spent his days playing in the sand, engrossed in his own games and didn’t notice what went on around him.  Samuel was the only boy of that age with in the community.  There were girls of similar age, but they were not allowed to play with him.  They were expected to join the women in the work that was needed to keep the community going.  As a boy, he was not permitted to work with the women and he was too young to go out with the men.  So there he wondered each day, alone playing with the wild animals and imaginary friends.

The time came one day when he was to undergo his initiation into manhood.  He would be taken out into the wilderness and left.  He had to survive alone for three days and then find his way back home, all alone.  This was supposed to be a very exciting time, a moment of pride as he transformed from a boy into a man.  But for Samuel, this was a moment of concern and confusion.  He did not know how to look forward to what would be expected of him once he was a man.  After this experience, his life would be completely different.  He would no longer have quiet days alone, but would now be expected to join the men.  The men all sat together making lots of noise and talking whenever they were home.  They would go on hunting trips together all the men and would come back carrying all kinds of dead animals.  The festivals that followed were great, but the thought of having to kill some animals was terrifying the young boy far more than the 3 days alone in the wild.  He had befriended the wild animals in his boyhood days, and he didn’t know how to change to see the animals as food.

Although Samuel did not want anything to do with the hunting men, he felt it would create more problems than it solved if he objected.  So he didn’t complain and simply did what his fathers before him had done.  He spent his 3 days in the wilderness and then found his way home.  He acted as was expected and joined the men in their activities.

His true feelings were pushed down and he did things he didn’t want to do.  Each day that they went hunting he felt a little less connected to his true self.  Each day he slowly forgot who he was before he had a spear and slowly he lost those uncomfortable feelings bit by bit.

Do we ever hide who we are so deeply that we forget what we believe in?  Is it best to simply transform ourselves to believe that which our community expects us to believe?

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