I and two other women are away at a conference. Last night we stumbled into the guest house with groceries and bags, exhausted from a long days drive and evening activities.
This morning I heard through my slow waking, “They are not here. I’m not seeing them.”
My mind ascertained that maybe the keys to the car were misplaced and then to my mind came a thought which I voiced, “Maybe they are in the door.”
Sure enough, the keys had hung on the outside of the door through the night.
The moments from hearing that ‘something was not here’ to my mind discerning the problem, to lighting on the answer, to my friend opening the door and finding the keys was all of about ten seconds.
Observing this, in my still-half-asleep-ness I realize that my mind works really well. I could even say that I am a smart person. But I have come to know that this is not who I am. It is not me.
In another way, over the last months I have recognized a low-level anxiety response under the surface of my life. It is not active all of the time by any means, but it is a new thing going on inside me at seemingly regular intervals.
I’m thinking it is a response of hormonal changes and that of being depleted due to a very heavy work load of the previous two years. Regardless of its origin or why it is here, I realize that this too is not me. I must pay it mind to be sure, but is is not me.
And I think of all the words and characterizations and descriptors to create clarity about who we are and what we do and the things we are about and the impact that we are having in the world and much of it, really doesn’t touch, doesn’t really explain who we are.
My mind works very well. This is an asset in my tool-belt. I am smart. Yet, one day it may not work so well. Most likely so. But I will still be here.
This low-level anxiety seems a deficit in my tool-belt. Whether it is an actual deficit I cannot say, it certainly distracts me and feels foreign, but this too, whether it stays or goes, isn’t who I am.
I’ve come to a point in my life where my work and manner are creating big impact and lasting change in the lives of others. This is something that I’ve known my whole life would be a reality one day. And now I am in the midst of this, smack-dab midstream.
The path to this has required that I learn many skills, glean from many others, enter into mentorship from those who have gone before me, take on challenges, remain in wisdom, and so much more. There are many tools in my tool belt. But these too, are not me.
For, along the path to this place I’ve been walking a journey of healing and of freedom within my own self. I’ve been shedding lies (that I was living) left, right, and centre. I’ve been taking my ego needs, those questions about self, to Jesus and bit by bit, one by one, God has been answering my ego needs, touching the scars that were once there, righting the wrongs in the depths of my heart.
The measuring stick by which I once tried to define myself is simply not there any more. I am glad for the work of my life. To be sure, there is satisfaction in a job well done. Yet, at my core, this too is not me, not at my core.
For all that has been said and done I find me when I sit in silence in a chair on a deck hearing the birds sing and feeling the breeze on my face.
I find me in the joy of eating cut-up apple and cottage cheese for breakfast.
I find me in the delight of laying in the sun soaking it’s warmth into my body.
I find me in the task of pulling weeds from a flower bed.
I find me when I am relishing, skipping in my heart, to the absolute gladness of fresh fruit poured over with cream on a summers day.
The things that are truly me are the things that will last to my dying day. My brain smarts will probably not last to my dying day. Influence, the ever-present showing up to it each and every day, will definitely not last till my dying day. Even my ability to write, putting words to the heart of the matter, most likely will not last to my dying day.
These are ways I am in the world. They are authentic and true to who I am. But they are not me. The real me is found in the simple joys and easy pleasures of home and hearth and family and sun and wind and rain.
And I wonder, what about you?
Who are you?
What will last to the end of your days?
What joys and delights and gladnesses will go with you till your dying day?
What makes you happy?
Where do you find joy?
Where your heart springs up in easy gladness, we see the real you.
Relish this. Simplify down so you can find you. Ease back on the gas-pedal and take in the easy glad things for you. Make joy a priority. Giggle over whatever it may be that makes you laugh.
Our minds may work well or not so well. Our hearts may be at peace or anxious. Our bodies may be fit or failing. Nonetheless, these are not who you are.
Just know this today. You are so much more than these.