Just Be

In his book, Telling Secrets, Frederick Buechner aptly says that when Peter said he didn’t know Jesus, he was right.  He said “It was a denial, but it was also the truth.  Peter really did not know who Jesus was, did not really know, and neither do any of us really know who Jesus is either.  Beyond all we can find to say about him and believe about him, he remains always beyond our grasp, except maybe once in a while the hem of his garment.”

Many preachers will tell you that unless you have a “personal relationship” with Jesus or “know” Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you are doomed to the fires of hell.  This is a pretty tall order to fill.  If we are honest with ourselves, we will admit that most of us do not even know ourselves, let alone Jesus.

As human beings we are wandering nomads.   Most of our identity consists of who we perceive others wanting us to be.  I have recently been consolidating email addresses.  When I realize how many email addresses I had at the time and over the years, it is baffling.  Many of them were from businesses that I “had” (many never much got past the website and advertisement stage) and the rest were accounts that were the name of my aspiring profession at the time.  For example, bengoshi79 (lawyer in Japanese) or kaikei79 (accounting in Japanese).  Yep, you can say I was a regular chameleon.

It takes a lot if time, solitude, meditation, and most of all – honesty, to figure out who we are.  Somewhere deep in our souls there is a place that has clearly written who we are and who we are called to be.  When we try to go in a different direction, we feel the pangs of dissonance because somehow we know that is not who we are.  When we do heed that still small voice, however, we experience that peace that passes all understanding.

I have a Japanese saying held by a magnet on my whiteboard.  It says basically, take who you want to be and subtract it by who you are now.  The difference is the work you still have left to do.  I’d say that pretty much sums things up.  First, we have to find that place inside where the truth resides.  Then, we have to be honest about how much work and of what sort we have to do.  Sometimes we just have to scrap it all and start over.  The good thing is that all of our experiences and the narrative that we have created throughout our life will be useful as we become our true selves.

Oh yeah, and knowing Jesus?  Well, if the only way to know ourselves is to be ourselves, then maybe the only way to know Jesus is to be as much like him as possible.  Maybe with each touch of his hem we can get a little more understanding and move ourselves toward that likeness.  After all, to know ourselves, is to know the one whom we are to strive to become the most like.

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