Hundreds of years ago a Roman centurion approached a rabbi on the street, cornering him with two questions, “Who are you?” and “Where are you going?”
“How much money do you make?” responded the Rabbi.
Taken aback, the soldier responded with some normal sum. The rabbi offered to double the soldier’s income if he would stand outside his door and ask him those questions every day.
Who am I? Where am I going? And where do I seek the answers to those questions? Do I strive to find the answers in accomplishments? In academics? In performance? In family, friends, and popularity? In approval? To whose accolades and applause do I turn my ear? To whose recognition do I respond?
Who am I, and where am I going? Am I just a lemming? A follower of some elusive pied piper? Blindly and mindlessly following someone unknown? Am I adhering more to the words of some musician, “I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m getting there fast?”
For all my self-awareness and self-perception, do I continue following that elusive drumbeat? More automation than autonomy? Do I run as fast as I can regardless of the destination?
Flannery O’Conner stated, “Somewhere is better than anywhere.” Where is my “somewhere”, and why am I going?
We seldom recognize the misguided pursuits of our lives. Yet it appears obvious at a distance. Dogs, those creatures heralded as “man’s best friend,” illustrate the fickle dependency of our responses. We stroke their heads, pat their fur and they sit contently, appeased. We move our hand. Desperately seeking these same acknowledgments of approval the dog also moves. The process continues. Dogs are approval junkies. So are we. Where do I find my strokes?
I can find approval and contentment in many things: in accomplishments, pursuits, academics, performance, family, friends and numerous relationships. I can find it in all these places but I will ultimately find myself unfulfilled and deceived. Humans will fail me, endeavors will prove unsuccessful, accomplishments will never be enough, and my own performance will continue to require greater achievement. These entities exist only as imitations and substitutes, paltry replacements for the real.
The reality is that I am God’s child. Just as God proclaimed after Jesus’ baptism, “This is my son with whom I am well pleased,” God proclaims about us daily.
This is my son. My daughter.
With whom I am well pleased.
If only we could hear him. If we could hear this and believe it, how would our lives and our actions change? If it were only his voice that I listened to, who would I say I was? Where would I say I am going? Purpose flows from the knowledge of who He is and who I am in relation.
© Revolworks 2006