Have you ever had a day when you forget who you are?
A day when you start listening to what other people say about who you are and stop believing the things you hold sacred about yourself?
I was having a day like that yesterday. I sorted out the contents of my mind like I was dumping an old, unfamiliar handbag on the floor for proof of what I believed to be true of myself. It was not pretty. In fact it was snot cry ugly, but it was necessary. You see, I had a nomadic childhood where the only constant was God and a mother who, by her own admission, is an unreliable narrator. I can check in with individual people to attest to the veracity of individual events, say the 8th grade spelling bee, but nobody watched me grow and mature throughout that time but my mom, and she had a lot of other concerns. That leaves me to sort the timeline, determine relevance, chart character growth, feel pride or shame and cast aside the meaningless. I was wishing for a “remember when…” friend right as our little church’s worship service began. It was mostly a tactical wish’ I wanted someone to help me sort my baggage, but I must admit it had the taint of self-pity.
As we started to sing, I looked up to see the cross with the ASL sign for “I Love You” on it suspended from the ceiling. Now, we share space with a deaf church; that sign is always there. But last night, it was there for me. You see, when my boys were little, especially if they were heading off to a school day they’d been dreading. I would always make eye contact with them as they got on the bus and flash them the “I Love You” sign and they would smile at me and flash it back. I knew that being reminded that they are loved and that they belonged to somebody who thinks they are fabulous would help them through that bad day.
God went and flashed me the “I Love You” sign on my bad day. He reminded me that I have always belonged to Him and that He thinks I’m pretty fabulous, too. In cleaning out my mental clutter, I forgot to check in with the most reliable narrator in the universe. The one who designed and created me to be just like I am. Extra emotional is extra passionate 9 days out of 10, and my enthusiasm has buoyed me through this life bringing many others up to the surface along the way.
It was a great way to end 2011. That and the hours of karaoke and silliness with all the Hope people without New Year’s plans.
Yes, I know who I am.
More importantly, I know whose I am.