Monday, September 8, 2014

Who Am I?

There are days that go by that I don't think about my mom much. She's more of the background of my life on those days, part of the tapestry that, woven together, makes me. Some days, though, I miss her in an acute sort of way, the way an amputee might miss their leg. There is a deep ache there, a longing for something I used to have that has been taken away from me. I can still feel her, still breathe her, she is in every pore of my body on those days. And I miss the little things. Her handwritten notes. Her tennis-shoe clad feet. Her hazel eyes.

I miss my mom, but sometimes, the missing her gives way to an even greater ache in my soul. I miss my family. I miss the familiarity of stories told about me. "When you were 4, you used to..." I miss the ease with which family communicates, the unspoken signals, the inside jokes, the intimate knowledge that comes from living together for so many years.

I adored the photos, every one of them, and the mismatched frames--the history of quiet honest moments that they represented, the history of a real family...Sometimes people do want to inherit your junk, even psychically, and some people don't have enough family.
{bridget asher, the pretend wife}

I'd like to know how much like, or how different, I am from my mom. I'd like someone to say to me, "At your age, your mom was a real beauty," or "At your age, your mom was a fighter," or "At your age, your mom could be so stubborn." I'd like something--anything--that could link me back to the family I used to have, before death marched in. Before it was all snatched out of my hands before I had the chance to argue. To plead. To beg. To fight.

Questions like these remain unanswered, though, as I muddle through life, making my own traditions, my own mistakes, my own familiarity.

My mom and my grandfather were sick at the same time. In their own way, they were trying to protect the younger generations from facing such a tragedy--after all, they were both dying, two skeletons dancing the same death dance. They had both lost their hair. They had both lost their weight and their muscle and their tone. It just happened faster, more aggressively for her father than for her, but the toll on all of us was the same. A member taken. A family slowly imploding.

Life experiences have a way of shaping us, of molding us, of teaching us who we are and what we are made of. We know to avoid crossing busy streets without caution and to not have sex before we get married. We know that what we want is 2.5 kids and a picket fence and a medium-sized dog named Scamp or Rosie. But instead of letting my life experiences shape me, I allowed my reaction to those experiences to keep me numb and distant, and it has left me staring into the mirror, into the face of a person I sometimes don't recognize, wondering who I really am.

I said you can have whatever you like.
You want it, I got it
Go get it, I'll buy it.
{T.I., Whatever You Like}

It's interesting, isn't it, that we so often see how money can corrupt honest people, how power can taint the innocent, and yet I am still so drawn to it, enamored by it's pull, it's glamour, it's prestige. I desire more. Sometimes I desire more, and I think it's all about living room furniture, and I get upset because I don't have or can't get exactly what I'm looking for. But this restlessness in my spirit, this desire for more, this ache--this goes beyond what money can buy. A sofa and a coffee table will always leave me gasping for breath, pleading for more, because they didn't have any life-breath in them in the first place. They don't tell me who I am, or the path of life I should take, or where I should go. They are a pair. A sofa and a coffee table, silent but steady, made to be used and sat on and perhaps even admired as pretty. But I have mistakenly put so much more on the things in my life, from patio furniture to paint colors, asking these lifeless things to give me life, to identify me, to give me joy and peace.

You turn things upside down,
as if the potter were thought to be like the clay.
Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it
"You did not make me"?
Can the pot say to the potter
"You know nothing"?
{isaiah 29:16}

But I can only receive my identity from the One who made me.

I miss my mom and I miss my family. I miss me.

Identity is a strange thing. When you're searching for it, it is a foggy thing, it's edges blurred and barely discernible. I have found myself asking over and over again, "I'm lost. Do you know who I am?"

Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's spirit lives in you?
{1 corinthians 6:19}

I am:
chosen (isaiah 43:10)
redeemed (isaiah 43:1)
loved (isaiah 43:4)
remembered (isaiah 49:16)
secure (deuteronomy 33:12)
able (habbakuk 3:19)
called (1 peter 2.9)

I am a child of God. I am His.

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