Invisible Humanitarian Metamorphosis – Turning A New Leaf

I have a dilemma.

Was it a humanitarian website midlife crisis?

Gosh! I really don’t know!

You tell me!

I was realizing that someday I will no longer be a humanitarian, and then what?  Should I begin to migrate to a new site over time and phase out The Invisible Humanitarian, making room for my Canadian life? I have that good old AndyRayner@

So I was hobnobbing, over the internet no less, with my tech, web, and graphic design savvy sister-in-law about the Invisible Humanitarian website.

Well she seems to think I should keep being the Invisible Humanitarian, and  begin to write more about the other dimensions of my life, right here, if that is what I want to do.

Africa, and humanitarian work will always be part of who I am, even when the day arrives that I can no longer work here, for whatever reason.  Just keep writing what I wish, on any subject.

My SIL then suggested that I ask myself why I feel compelled to put my life out in public.

So I think you should post, on IH (invisible humanitarian), about why you want to share more than the humanitarian stuff…… Tell why this is a need -for you- and for us as your readership.

I think it’s also a good exercise to explore why you want to put all of these ideas, thoughts, feelings, experiences out to a public realm. Because despite the elusive and misleading feeling that you’re shouting down a hollow tube and only hearing your own words echoing back into your ears… that is not how the internet works. You’re just not getting immediate feedback. But people are seeing, reading.

And, for better or for worse, forming ideas about you based on what you write.

I don’t think it’s bad to share, or even to lay your entire self out in a public forum, if that’s what you want. But start with that.

 Sucking in air…… wow…. that line,

“….for better or for worse, forming ideas about you based on what you write.”

Why do I write? I am a reserved extrovert. But I work at jobs that see me cut off from people , a lot.

On boats six months a year, working six, sometimes seven days a week with fishing responsibilities. After finishing my fishing seasons at the end of October, within days I am packed and on a flight back to Mali, West Africa. Where I live 400km from the city of Bamako, in a town with no other expats, and I work in the bush region 20-100 km in the bush.  My jobs, cut me off from same culture people, so very much. Also, let’s face it, if  you were a church minister for years, most people still hold you at arms length, and will continue to do so, for a long long while, even though I am not that anymore.

I am not a writer or thinker. I spend little time editing what I write. I don’t have time to edit and formulate. I don’t care to do the hard work to become a better writer. Why? Because I am not a writer.

I am a country boy, having grown up in a fisherman’s family, and now myself a commercial fisherman Captain, with my own boat. Like, way scary, eh!

I went to church every Sunday as a country kid. I even got a theology degree, a Bachelor of Sacred Literature. I was ordained,  and served as a minister in a few country churches for a few short years. I worked in Africa,  off an on, as well. A humanitarian worker for nearly a decade now.

I like the woods, it feeds my soul. I grew up hunting and trapping for fur, as my grandfather taught me. In summer and fall I was often in the woods. When I went to a work desk, I missed the woods, deeply.

The last ten years was about getting out of a stifling religious box, detoxing from things that don’t mater, and moving into a wider and deeper spiritual journey that better fits who I am. That cost me with religiousy folks who love that box, and are theologically oblivious that there are indeed other valid expressions of community, and always has been.

  • Getting out from behind a desk, and back to the woods.
  • Out of Canada, and back to Africa,
  • Out of the City, and back to the sea.
  •  Out of the Food store, and back into the home grown garden.

I am a rather melancholy person at times. I have never really felt I fit anywhere.

However, somewhere about the age forty, I arrived to the place where I began to enjoy life more. Why? Well, because I stopped giving a rip about what people thought of me. I stopped letting other peoples opinions, expectations, way of doing things, way of living, guilt trips, and assumptions guide me.  I made time for things that enrich and guide my soul.

I quite every board, committee, and group I was part of, and went free range, and started to rebuild my own life.  Best decision of my life.

Turning forty years old is freedom my people.A great stage of life.  I had my first real vacation in my 40’s. I bought a motorcycle in my 40’s. I now guard my vacation time, which is little, with teeth now.

So you have now read about my silly life, my struggles, my feelings and heard my ill informed opinions. They are out there, and, i guess, opinions are formed.

Maybe some of you share some of the same struggles I have?

You know, the struggles of juggling life’s demands, marriage, raising a family, then becoming empty-nesters. Trying not to let life swallow up too much of who we are as a person, as a living soul.

Trying not to be too relationally challenged.  Trying to be kind, give people the benefit of the doubt, and speaking well, rather than putting your foot into your mouth, up to the knee, like I do.

I hope to get healthier again. I need to try and lose some weight too. I am getting too big, despite my work and activity….  My SIL refers to me as a “fit fat”,  as it does not seem to slow me down from being in the wilderness.. (I hiked 300km on the Confederation trail in 8 days)

Someday, I hope to stop feeling like an ass at everyone else’s party.

This is my life.

 You know, I had hoped I would connect with people, like me, here.But it never happened.As my S-I-L said, you feel like you are shouting down a tube, with no response. But that is the internet, that is my life, and that is how it is.

However, as of this day, expect more news about a broader range of things. More about hiking,  fishing, Africa, motorcycling, reading, meditating, the contemplative life.  Maybe an odd quote about some spiritual insight I discover, from others, as I would never find one by myself.

More of what I do, and hope to do before I die.

More of what I am, and hope to become, before I die.

Big, fat, old me hiking in the woods when I got home from Africa last March. I’ll be back to Canada in a month, and I am ready for some cool wilderness, and lots of it. Give me a call when I get back and come walk, snowshoe, or hike with me. I could use that.

What do you hope to do, or become, before you die? Which could happen bext week, for any of us.

Love To Hear From You

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