the child looking in the face of her mother asking why the sky is blue.
the preteen discovering what it means to have her “first love”.
the teenager working hard in school and struggling to figure out what it means to start a first job. Have her first boyfriend. Hold hands for the first time. Have her first dance, first kiss, first heart break, first car, first…everything.
Now I am the college graduate looking at the world through lenses of greater maturity clouded by the rose colored glasses of youthful ambition, or at least that is what some people would call it. But you see, there are now two other firsts- the one of “post graduate” where one identifies as the newly enthused overly excited child who is ready to tear through the world with a mithril sword and turn everything upside down for the better- perhaps baptizing the world in the river of blood that will set everyone’s heads on straight. And then there is the first of realizing that this is not how life works followed by the next surprise that realizes that my small and insignificant gifts and talents can still be used even if my circle of influence is very small and even if my gifts are used in a very small way.
You see, life is guided by firsts. When we are young we are drowned with first experiences, and we think they are going to stop, but they never do. No matter what every first is a deeply personal experience that is influenced by worldview, perspective, gender, personality, culture, religious beliefs. And so we will start with what constructs us as humans. In today’s culture we construct ourselves based on what we think is valid and who we think we ought to be, and contrary to what some may say there is some validity to this, but the validity is based on what the forms the foundation for who we want to be. Do I want to be who I want to be or do I want to be who God has made me to be based on his created order and reality?
I know who I am. I am a follower of the Truth. In today’s culture that makes me odd, but I remember a quote by the great southern gothic writer Flannery O’Connor “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you odd.” I am a sickly sinner in need of God’s infinite grace every year, month, week, day, minute, and second of my life. May every blunt word that comes from my mouth be tempered by grace.
On that note it is important to mention who I am not. I am not the Holy Spirit. I am not the the ultimate reality. I am not the source of reality. I am not self validating. I am not “self actualized”. I am not “Who I Am.”
And neither are you.