We love to get firm, definitive answers to questions we ask. We tend to regard such answers as “the last word.” This eliminates any further confusion or frustration that might trouble us. The fact, in reality, is that most questions have many answers that contain elements of the truth without a firm definitive statement of it. One of these is the question, “Who am I?” It’s a very important question with answers so different that most don’t even bother with it. Among those who do there are all kinds of answers each containing some part of the truth. In one sense “life” is the answer to the question “Who am I?” Being alive embodies a conscious or subconscious search for who I am.
Within the context of my daily life there are many answers I might make as to who I am. Each contains parts of the whole truth. I am one who fights a weak battle against self and selfishness, a hypocrite to my rationalized desires for the selflessness the possession of which I try to convince myself. I am one, nonetheless, who will try to purify this. I am one who is too concerned with the small world of day-to-day exterior life. I am one, nonetheless, who attempts to see below the surface of little things. I am one who thinks too highly of himself, but one who justifies that value because of Your incomprehensible love for me. I am one who has made many mistakes, some of which I dwell on, but most of which I cast into a cloud of forgetfulness. I am he who seeks comfort, security and happiness knowing that risk, vulnerability, restlessness and suffering offer more to my spirit. I am one who is in the world as an extension of God Himself, a conduit, a channel, yet one who ignores this.
There is a framed poster hanging in our hallway that says: “Life is God’s gift to you. What you do with it is your gift to God.” Further bits of the truth about who I am can be stitched together from my responses to the words of that poster. I am one who wishes daily to become a better, more complete return on God’s investment in me, but who fights a tendency to put off till tomorrow what should be done today. I am one who secretly prides himself on small steps of spiritual advancement instead of crediting the grace of God. I am one who is far from practicing what I know I should but who experiences peace from my desire to do so.
All these bits and more are as pieces to the puzzle of who I am. Yet, for me, there exists no definitive expression of the whole truth of who I am.
Who am I? I am a flawed but determined “seeker” – maybe that’s as close as I can come. There is a lameness to the medium of these letters, indeed, to words in general to capture what transcends language. It is futility to search for answers to questions that can’t be understood here and now - except in bits and pieces.