Saturday, January 31, 2009

Who Am I?

When I was in college, I spent two summers working at a small camp for people with disabilities. Up until then, I had never attempted anything like that. Working with 10 or so people closely all summer. I felt rather suffocated. I wasn’t very good at it. At the end of the summer, we had peer evaluation. How Dreadful. Back then, I was heavily involved in music. This is how my evaluation came out. Strength: Great singing (10 out of 10). Getting things done (10 out of 10). I don’t even want to mention all the mean things people said about me for my weakness because it was anonymous evaluation. Getting things done part wasn’t really a compliment. Every night, we would have some tasks before we can get to bed. Everyone just wanted to stay up and talk. I wanted to go to bed. So, I just asked them, “can we get this done?” several times so I could go to bed. And I left the camp at the end of the summer with an award of “Task Master”.

How will I be remembered? What will people remember about me? If people were to get up and say some nice things about me at my funeral, what will they say? No one is ever going to say mean things about the deceased, but I really don’t want people to lie about me. I am often disappointed when all the compliments I get are external things, like things I do or things I own. ”Nice shirt”. ”Nice paint color”. ”Nice singing today.” I am not saying that you can’t say those things to me or to anyone. I do that to others all the time. I guess I hope people will see me as who I am within. See my heart. If all that I do was stripped way from me, what’s left? Many of us find security and identity in the things we do or own. I won’t deny those are huge part of who we are, but without them, many of us are uncomfortable. I am a mom. I love my alone down time. But somedays, I feel lost when my kids are not with me. Honest. I am a wife to Scott. He is the more outgoing one. I used to feel uncomfortable going places without him. Not so much anymore.

I was at a man’s funeral many years ago. An esteemed evangelist. Many, many people got up to say what an awesome preacher he was. Then, one man got up and told us how he used to bring his wife flowers at work and how he loved his family deeply. I loved that. I cried. What he did was honorable. No doubt about it. But that was just one part of the man.

I want people to see me past the obvious. I don’t know if this makes any sense. I cringe by the thought of countless people getting up to say how awesome my olive bread was at my funeral. I’m sure VanGough was more than a painter. I want to know that he helped his neighbor or took time to feed orphans. I don’t know if that’s what he did, but I want to know those seemingly insignificant things in people which make all the difference. And I want people to know those things in me. Not just about my olive bread. But if this is truly my desire, I need to be transparent. I need not be uncomfortable when all my ‘buffers’ are gone and all the olive bread is eaten.

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