“I don’t know who I am.”
The violent movie had played for a few moments on the television the other day when those words jumped out and took hold of me. What movie was playing is of no consequence. I don’t remember watching anything more of it afterwards.
My mind was deep in thought.
I don’t know who I am.
I spent an hour tonight scouring the Internet for a clue of my family’s past. It was a search brought on, I suppose, by envy of the Lovely Lady. She read me a letter today which she had found recently. The letter traced her family history back effortlessly over four generations, information easily available, since records have been meticulously kept by family members for years. I remember my father-in-law citing that family tree to me on numerous occasions as we traveled to and from piano moves.
My own family tree is not so easily traced. We go back three generations and there we are completely stymied. A name change, now shrouded in the fog of the past, brings a halt to the search. I beat at the surrounding bushes for awhile tonight and give up. Again. There is, as far as I know, one person alive who could answer my questions regarding our family’s past. He’s not talking. The answer will go to the grave with him. I’ll have to keep looking.
I don’t know who I am.
Somehow, I don’t think the writer of the screenplay meant to question the character’s pedigree. Perhaps he did, but I want to go a bit deeper anyway. It seems to me that we can escape to some degree from our family lines, but individually, we are tied eternally to who we really are in this life.
Then who am I?
I am confident that no one knows the answer to that as it applies to me. At least, it is to be hoped that no one does. And, when I say that, I mean that I hope no one really knows who I am. My guess is that most of us could say the same.
We have gone to great lengths to conceal our own reality from the whole world. In much the same way as the person who holds the clue to my family heritage will not reveal it, we wish to keep our secrets to ourselves.
That said, it is essential that we have a clear picture of who we are. Oh, we could lie to ourselves and be convinced that the public persona we have presented to others is factual. Many do. Somehow though, the truth eventually escapes and the reality which has long been hidden springs into public view. We’ve seen it again and again, as respected men fall, their private lives made very public. Politicians, actors, professional men, pastors–all are susceptible to the urge to conceal their true identities, and all will eventually pay the price.
I will admit this much to you:
I am not today who I hope to be tomorrow. Change is happening. I know who I have been and who I hope to be.
There is something positive to report in all of this. If I stand and look back over my lifetime, I can see a good many years in the past. It’s not always a beautiful view, but I see one thing that gives me hope for the future.
I am not who I was.
I am not who I will be.
It’s a good thing.
I hope that the Good Lord gives me the chance one day to stand and look back again and I’ll be able to say, with no embarrassment at all, that I’ve become what He wanted me to be. The Apostle did that, as he spoke of fighting the fight, completing the race, and keeping the faith. May we all have that opportunity.
A friend encouraged me today about the changes I’ve made over the last year physically. I suggested to her that I am still a work in progress.
I hope I will be to the end of my days.
It turns out that I do know who I am. And who I’m becoming.
“…And the Lord–who is the Spirit–makes us more and more like Him as we are changed into His glorious image.”
(2 Corinthians 3:18 ~ NLT)
“The essential thing in heaven and earth is that there should be a long obedience in the same direction; there thereby results, and has always resulted in the long run, something which has made life worth living.”
(Friedrich Nietzsche ~ German atheist/philosopher ~1844-1900)
© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2014. All Rights Reserved.
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