My memories of these early years are sometimes clouded, other times as vivid as the bright colors painted onto Pakistani trucks and buses. When I first arrived in Karachi the country was still young, born only thirteen years earlier in 1947. In 1954 when my parents first arrived, Pakistan was raw with fresh memories of the violence and struggle of a difficult and precarious independence. Yet during my childhood, I would only partially grasp the challenging history of this country. My world was safe, cocooned by my parents’ love and a sheltering community. I belonged. Pakistan was home. Anything outside of Pakistan was ‘other.’ I would not form memories of my country of birth and citizenship until much later.
Advance Praise for Passages Through Pakistan:
Passages through Pakistan tells the captivating story of Marilyn Gardner’s childhood as a ‘third-culture kid’, raised by her Christian, American missionary parents in the heart of Pakistan. Gardner’s eloquent story of the trials, tribulations, and lessons of growing up as a bridge between these rich cultures serves as an important lens through which Americans and Pakistanis can learn more about one another and their important long-term partnership in a time when the gap between the two nations seems to be growing ever larger. By shedding light on how our faiths, our cultures, and our worlds are far more alike than different, Gardner’s story is a must read for those wanting to build bridges.
Between Worlds – Essays on Culture & Belonging
“In the hall of an old Inn by the ocean is a sign that reads ‘Home is Where Our Story Begins.’ But if home is where our story begins, what happens when we can’t go back?”
Marilyn Gardner was raised in Pakistan and went on to raise her own five children in Pakistan and Egypt before moving to small town New England. Between Worlds will resonate with those who have lived outside of their passport country, as well as those who have not. These essays explore the rootlessness and grief as well as the unexpected moments of humor and joy that are a part of living between two worlds. Between Worlds charts a journey between the cultures of East and West, the comfort of being surrounded by loved ones and familiar places, and the loneliness of not belonging.
“Every one of us has been at some point between two worlds, be they faith and loss of faith, joy and sorrow, birth and death. Between Worlds is a luminous guide for connecting—and healing—worlds.” – Cathy Romeo, co-author, Ended Beginnings: Healing Childbearing Losses
“To read this remarkable collection of essays is to journey with Marilyn Gardner between the worlds of East and West, home and not-feeling-like-home, touching with her the boundaries of culture, the inspirations of faith, and the comforts of loved ones. Her stories are compelling and unforgettable. And while her essays will instantly resonate with those, like Marilyn, who have lived between worlds, they speak volumes to those like me who have not. Every one of us has been at some point between two worlds, be they faith and loss of faith, joy and sorrow, birth and death. Between Worlds is a luminous guide for healing—and connecting—worlds.”
Cathy Romeo, co-author, Ended Beginnings: Healing Childbearing Losses
“Drawn from her honest, penetrating blog writings, Marilyn Gardner’s Between Worlds invites us into her memories with loving hospitality, connecting the various and vivid threads of her fascinating life without over-sentimentalization…..Throughout her essays, Marilyn presses in on the questions with which every human soul wrestles, particularly our God-given desire to belong, and to live securely and coherently with oneself and others.”- Laura Merzig Fabrycky, The Washington Institute for Faith, Vocation, and Culture
From the Back Cover“This is a treasure trove of wisdom and perspective from a talented writer.”
-Rachel Pieh Jones, author for Brain Child, Babble, A Life Overseas, EthnoTraveler, and co-founder of Girls Run 2
Read reviews of Between Worlds here:
What a Woman is Worth – Edited by by Tamára Lunardo
30 essays by 30 different women.
Relentless Pursuit by Marilyn Gardner – Page 85
“As a girl growing up in Pakistan I knew I was loved and valued, my place in the family portrait secure and privileged, a place of honor. The only girl in a family of four boys, I challenged the statistical geniuses who warned my mother that it was “unusual to have a girl after so many boys!” and was emotionally spoiled from my first breath. Even at the most awkward of stages, I lived in a world of princess privilege……But the world that surrounded me presented a different picture.”
The question of our worth lies at the root of so many things that hold us back in shame, fear, or doubt. This book is a brave ‘I’ll go first,’ inspiring all who read it to take important steps forward into freedom.” — Kristen Howerton, Professor of Psychology, Vanguard University and author of RageAgainsttheMinivan.com