Archive for July, 2009
>I wrote this song back in the day. I never like listening to myself sing because I’ve never felt very confident with my voice, but the thoughts I share in this song mean something to me. I’ve always been struck with how easily I believe that God can move mountains, but have always found it hard to believe he can change the valleys in my own life.
I pray for Parkesburg.
As a young child I wanted to be a missionary. By the time I was in high school, I still wanted to be a missionary. After two years of YWAM, I maintained my resolve to serve God in the capacity of giving His grace to those who are without it. And then I met Nicki and we both discerned that we were to be missionaries, not in a foreign country, but in the most familiar place I could go … to Parkesburg … to the funeral home … to the only place in the whole world where I already had an identity that wasn’t defined by what I did, but by my last name. I’ve lived most of my life outside of Parkesburg community … I went to a small private, school in West Fallowfield for my middle school years … I went to Lancaster Mennonite High School, which was a world away from Parkesburg, if not it’s antithesis … then I went to YWAM for two years and I got used to something and took it for granted: I defined, at least in the minds of those I met, who I was as a person. Up to this point, the people that I crossed paths with had no preconceived notions about my family history, no assumptions about what my personality type should be, no expectation about what I should do with my life, the only thing they had to define who I was was me. I defined myself. But not in Parkesburg. In Parkesburg, everybody assumes I’m just like the other Wilde boys … that I was born to be in the business of undertaking … that I’m continuing the family tradition.
Ever since moving to Parkesburg, I’ve struggled with an issue that I never had dealt with … I’ve struggled with my identity. For the last seven years, I’ve felt insecure about myself, insecure about my job, and dissatisfied with my life in general. To complicate the matter, I’ve felt very selfish as I’ve been taking time searching for my missing identity instead of helping others find what’s missing in their own lives. This past weekend (my two days off for the month of July), I asked the Lord to speak to me and I think He gave me some perspective.
When I meet somebody, I want them to see that I’m for Jesus. I don’t need to say it specifically, but I have always wanted to be a reflection of His face to those I meet. I want that to be my identity. But in Parkesburg, at the funeral home, my identity is assumed to be a funeral director, just like the rest of my family. In other words, I can’t be who I want to be because I’m living in the shadow of my predecessors. While in most places that I’ve been at, I’ve been able to let people know who I was, but now, I’m having to change preconceived assumptions that everybody here in Parkesburg already has about me.
So why am I called here? Why should I waste all this time trying to correct wrong assumptions when I could be someplace else, in fact anywhere else in the entire world, establishing right assumptions? Didn’t even Jesus allude to this frustration when He stated, “A prophet is never accepted in his hometown”? It’s not that the prophet’s hometown is hardened and stiff-hearted, it’s that they see the prophet as something else … they’ve allowed the prophet’s history to define his present reality. And, as a result, the prophet’s not accepted … so, like Jesus, why am I still here? I’m no prophet, and I don’t want people to think that I am … I just want people to know that I’m not a funeral director. I’m here as a missionary, as somebody who’s looking to infuse the grace of God. But the label is just too strong. It’s like when Ellen DeGeneres came out … nobody could see her as anything other than a lesbian and I’m afraid nobody can see me as anything other than a sixth-generation funeral director.
I see guys like Dwayne, the director of the Parkesburg Point, coming into Parkesburg as a youth minister and actually making an impact and here I am, believing that God has called me here as well, but because of my last name, because everybody, every church, assumes my place is in the funeral home, I’m damned there, I’m presumed there, and my ability to minister, is rendered, I fear, ineffective. And I suffer, not because I’m lacking anything for myself and my own gain … I suffer because I can’t give to the Lord in the capacity that I want to give. Anywhere else, I’d be making an impact, anywhere in the world but here.
I pray for Parkesburg … not at a funeral director, but as a missionary. And I pray that the Lord would give me wisdom … give me discernment as to whether or not I should stay here … or whether or not I should find a place where I can be myself … a place where I can be seen as the person I’ve wanted to be since I was young.