As always, this is not a book report. Rather, it is a discussion of some themes that stuck with me while reading “The Poisonwood Bible” by Barbara Kingsolver.
An Out of Body Experience
We are too often chained to the comfortable. We are victims of routine. Our adventurous spirits are like caged birds. Something made abundantly clear to me while reading this book was the value of an out of body experience; moments when we shake off normal like winter snow from a coat. These moments afford new opportunities to learn and grow. In them, we are made to experience a piece of the world unknown to us.
A part that makes the out of body experience so valuable is the chance to experience customs foreign to you. New foods, new people, new cultures, new ways of doing things… This sense of newness can both inspire and frighten. For me, I would argue that’s a good thing. It has the power to change your mind and how you perceive the world. It can change the core of man and make him more open. It gives you a wisdom few will ever possess.
Adapting to the Fear of Changing World
In our own self-indulgent view, the world is changing at a rapid pace. We are fond of saying it is changing faster now than ever before. For many people, this increases fear and tumult. For me, it inspires. Every day, we are introduced to pioneers. Pioneers who are exploring the depths of the galaxy. Pioneers who are curing disease. Pioneers who are standing on the edge of unshakable peace. Pioneers who are changing the way we communicate. Pioneers who are daring boldly and altering the direction of the world. I wake every morning with the hope of quieting my fear and replacing it with an unquenchable sense of curiosity.
Americans Not Wanted
America seems to make one foreign calculation repeatedly. We love to overthrow regimes, dictators, and tyrants in the name of democracy. Then we end up backing individuals we don’t truly understand, and the people don’t want. More often than not, this leads to an idea of Americans not wanted here. As an American who loves to travel, this creates a map where we are not welcome. Yet, the solution to this problem is simple. Instead of playing world police, perhaps we hold fast to the idea of being the consummate preachers of freedom.
Leaving All That You Know
On more than one occasion, I have loaded everything I own into a moving truck and in the process left behind everything I know and hold dear. There are power and courage in such an experiment. There are opportunities for new experiences, new customs, new worlds, and a new sense of belonging. There is also a tremendous opportunity to learn a whole lot about yourself. For those stuck in a routine, I cannot recommend starting over somewhere new enough.
Moving Forward with What You Know
New knowledge gained? Now what? It is selfish to hold these experiences just for yourself. I believe you have a responsibility to share what you have learned far and wide. If you want to spread change, it is your duty. Then it becomes your responsibility to help others get where you are because everyone should have the opportunity to explore, learn, and grow. Everyone deserves to see the world, and have it change them.
Be good to each other,
I've never asked readers for financial support before. I am committed to keeping content on this site free and open to all. For me, this means no paywalls or subscription fees. If you like what I create, please consider making a contribution on Patreon.