Tuesday, 20 October 2009

'Passing' thoughts

It's funny, when I really boil it all down, how much the context of identity comes into play in my research.  How a group or a society perceives itself is often found in the laws/ codes of conduct it creates and the church is no exception.  Who is out?  Who is in?  Who makes the rules determining who is in and who is out? Who can be a citizen or who can't - whether in the community of the kindom of heaven on earth or, in the more prosaic sense, in the community found through national identity?

Although having grown up on that big island, Australia, smaller islands also play their part in my genetic makeup...Lewis to the west, and Eday to the north....  I have lived here in Scotland nearly 18 years and have strongly identified with the notion of 'home' as being here.  I remember the first time I crossed the border from England: sitting on a train bound for Edinburgh and crossing the imaginary line dividing up geography and culture and outlook. I had an overwhelming feeling of finally being 'home'.  I had not, at that point, physically ever set foot in the place and yet somewhere deep within - maybe the land, maybe my ancestral DNA - called out with a wild, fierce joy: identity and belonging are powerful things.

And so today I sat, and passed, a small test as part of the journey to make official what is already a matter of the heart.  It doesn't deny the Australian side of me: I rejoice in that too... but perhaps moving towards UK citizenship is about rejoicing in that other part of me as well.  This way, perhaps, both halves are acknowledged, combined and comprise an integrated whole?  But whatever this is all about, I'm glad I'm doing it.  It puts an identifier marker in the sand perhaps.

And the tie in with my research?  It's loose, but... my Masters thesis has been dealt with: I not only pass, but meet the criteria to continue onwards and do the Doctorate [which I've sort of been doing anyway] - research which continues to have at its heart issues of identity.
All is well and all is busy and all is very good indeed.


Liz said...

Nik, glad to hear that things are well and proud to call you "one of us"!

Angus Macdonald said...

Well, well. You could have told me what you were doing, but then I'm only your dear old dad.
I had that feeling of home when I visited in 1977. Sailing into Stornoway Harbour standing on the bridge of the Cal Mac fery I felt that sensation of being home and when cousin Angus met us on the wharf he said " how long are you home for " which I will never forget.
I'll have to win lotto to be able to come home to see you.
Lots of Love Dadxxxx.

Nik said...

lol, oops, sorry Dad - thought I'd told you... :) Good thing you read the blog, really, isn't it!!??
I'll never forget when we were on the bus at Port of Ness and the driver pulled up, opened the door and said 'Angus'... and you and cousing Angus [who happened to be walking up the road] both went 'yes?' Excellent moment - as was the afternoon tea at their house and the photographs pulled out of the loft :) xx