God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM“; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.'”
Who Am I? Sometimes I think this question is at the root of our human experience. It is what drives us. It is a desire to know ourselves, to know where we fit in and what makes me “me”. What is my identity?
We are social beings, we thrive in community. I believe one of our greatest fears is that people will reject us. As a result we live by the book, following the script written by countless generations before us.
Imagine a scenario where a group of people come together for a book club. They were all supposed to have read a chapter of their current book before the meeting but none of them has.
They make small talk and divert the conversation for as long as they can, each one of them feeling embarrassed and scared of what the others might think. Some even lie about the chapter and make up opinions so as to appear to have done the reading.
Finally, one person confesses to having not done the reading and the tension is broken, everyone admits and the group laughs, feeling closer and more bonded than before.
This book club is a lot like life. We jostle for our place in society pretending to have it all together but we are all just lost on the inside. We’re afraid to admit it but if we do, we find that everyone is really in the same boat, and there is liberation in knowing this. It takes the pressure off.
I find it interesting how many people take those “tests” on Facebook: “What Disney Character Are You?”, “What Is Your Celebrity Alter Ego?”, “What City Should You Really Live In?”.
I’ve taken plenty myself. Sure, they can be a laugh but I feel those tests are so popular because we desire identity, we are searching for meaning and for who we are. We like it when our ideas of who we are are affirmed, which is often why those tests are flawed because we will answer according to what we want the outcome to be.
Which describes you best: Shy, Adventurous, Bookish, Fun?
I secretly want to be an adventurer so I choose adventurous. The result tells me, “You are an explorer! Seeking adventure and thriving off change!” – Yes! No… I am actually insecure and afraid of so many things. I want to be an explorer because I believe that will fulfil me. But will it?
A year ago today, I boarded my plane and began my journey to London. This was my adventure. This was my initiation; I was going to find my place and my identity.
Well, this did happen, but not in the way I expected at all! So here I am, on the Feast of St.Dominic, back in Cape Town recovering from a traumatic, life changing, OCD episode but strangely, in so many ways, I’ve never been happier.
I’ve admitted that I didn’t do the reading.
Somehow, in that surrender, lies the key to feeling more at peace in my own skin. Realising that I am who I am, warts and all, and that is enough. I am not claiming to have reached “enlightenment”. I am still insecure and afraid of many things, I still fear rejection, I am still human. And that is fine and good. But just as shading gives a drawing definition, our flaws help shape our character.
My insecurities affect me, but they don’t define me.
St. Augustine’s most overused quotation is, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rests in you.”
The quote’s popularity is, in itself, telling. We relate to the phrase “our hearts are restless” so much because we are restless. We seek
and seek but we do not find because we seek in the world.
But we are not made for this world. At least, that’s my belief. We desire more, something greater which cannot be found in this life.
An image comes to mind of a barren wasteland in which I stand, seeking out some form of life, some sign of colour in a colourless world. I run and run, seeking in vain, trying so hard to feel and to see something which I haven’t felt or seen before but I know exists somehow. Eventually I trip and fall into the dust. At first, I want to give up, and so I weep, as all feels lost.
But then I open my eyes and notice that where my tears have fallen, a small flower has sprouted and it is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.
It is in surrender that we find what we are seeking, we cannot find it on our own.
And what we are seeking is God. Nothing else. And He is waiting for us all.
No matter your creed, code, culture or religion, try and say a prayer
now. Reach into that place in yourself that is hurting, and then lift it up to the I AM, the Divine Being. Realise that He is here, right now, within you, around you and that you are in Him, and He IS Eternity.
Peace and Happy Feast of St. Dominic.
“Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” – Jesus Christ