No matter what I chose to do in my life the going seemed to be tough, like forcing water to run uphill, defying gravity—attempting to countermand the very laws of nature and the manner in which the world works.
Imagine me, a simple girl from rural Michigan wanting to be Japanese. Me, an intensely independent child who cherished nothing more than to be outside barefoot on her grandparent’s farm playing in an unstructured manner, transplanting herself into a too shallow vessel in an ineffectual attempt to morph into a demure, soft-spoken woman.
I had been born a Michigan pine, a sapling lashed by the wind that crosses from Lake Michigan to Lakes Huron and Erie. But I had allowed myself to be pruned and trained in an unnatural way . . . not simply in an attempt to acclimate to new soil for a time. No, in an ill-fated decision to second-guess my maker I had traded in my God-given sensibilities to shrink myself into an unnatural six-foot-tall bonsai.
For a gardener to fashion a miniature ideal of a tree is one thing, but for a person to try to become someone they weren’t born to be—to trade in their voice and lose sight of their values, to toss away the things they love most—is a distortion of reality just short of perversion.
Each of us is given the gift of life, and we receive all kinds of input from individuals and the larger world around us, but from a hindsight perspective it all seems rather haphazard and circumstantial. Contrary to our culture’s postmodern bent, in the final analysis there is no such thing as “my truth” or “your truth.” That kind of thinking is temporal, based on what we know based on our own limited insight at any given time. There is only one truth, and God tasks each of us with the responsibility to identify it and live accordingly—regardless of culture.