an eye on the I

faith as a first-person narrative

Last year on my birthday, my mom and I were out to eat and she asked me, "How old do you feel? Do you feel a year older?" And I was happy to give her the same answer I've always given... I said, "I feel the same." And I do, always. I think certain subtleties have changed, but all along its been so quiet, that I hardly detect the movement.

It's like that person you only see once a year; and in the time away they've let their hair grow out, they're five or ten pounds heavier- and you immediately pick up on these nuances. Because to you, this new person seems unmistakably different than who they were a year ago. Somethings changed. But to this friend's family, and the people around him everyday, nothing has. They say stuff like-"Ahh, that's Carl all-right. That guy never changes."

Or have you been on a plane where outside, in reality, you're covering hundreds of miles-- but inside, on board the plane, everything seems quiet, smooth and still- like you're not even moving. We all feel this sameness; this feeling like so little is happening- like we're waiting for something.

Christians talk a lot about waiting. It's like we're waiting to go to heaven; waiting for Christ to return, waiting for the day we die; waiting to be saved; waiting for the Laguna Beach dvd set to be released; waiting for everything to be explained and made right. It's everywhere. It's even written into the songs we sing. I don't know if I was ever specifically told we're all waiting, or if I just assumed it because of the way everyone always moped around.

Either way, waiting can become an incredibly uneventful way to live. A convenient theology for the ancient art of inactivity; A hierarchical ordering where--by some vague rationale--certain portions, periods, or season of life become regarded as more important than others. Now I'm not talking about patient anticipation. No, I'm talking about emotional motionlessness, a spiritual dormancy--waiting. The stand still, sit back and watch the paint dry, 'We're Christians and we'll be hopefully reclusive until the very end of our ineffectual lives-Praise God!' kind of waiting. It's the one-and-done attitude that prays a prayer and then closes up shop.

And it's definitely the conveniently preferred option of some of us at so many times in our lives. But does that attitude really resonate with us? If you're like me, aren't you exhausted from all this waiting? Don't you want to participate, to be given responsibility, and a hand in what's happening, now. If we're honest--the truth is--we're not content to wait. We may be comfortable, but we're certainly not content.

You see, waiting implies a kind of supercilious finished-ness, an assumed inevitability. To wait in inactivity is to say, "The best offense is a good defense. This is the best i have to offer--without amendment-- and I'm satisfied letting life pas me by just as things are-- just as I am."

The problem is, who of us actually feels this way? Who has finished the job and finally closed- for good- the gap between the person they are and the person they want to be?

And who are we anyway?

It's probably easiest to simply say, "I am who I say I am" and rhetorically define ourselves in terms of who we see or perceive ourselves to be. Appropriately, we call this a self-image. But an image, by definition, is not what something or someone is, but rather how it appears to be. So self-image, we would say, is less of a description and more of a depiction.

Aristotle had this philosophy that speaks volumes into this idea. He said that who an individual is, is dependant upon the sum of one's habits. In other words, who I am has less to do with who I say I am, and more to do with who I've chosen- over and over again- to be.

Who have you chosen to be? Have you settled to wait and hope that all (you included) will be made right? Have you invested more in who you say you are than who you are choosing, everyday, in every moment, to be? Or are you someone actively becoming and being the person you want to be?

Jesus said, "My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready." The choice is yours.

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