As the grad bells toll and life as I know it is coming to an end, I’ve been looking at pictures and rehearsing old memories. Yesterday, I finished my last play with the theatre group that has been my second family for ten years. Over McDonalds mcflurries after the show, I began to contemplate identity.
People are narcissistic. I am vain. Life is about me. Identity is often about who I want to be. But what about when that identity is ripped from you? What about when it begins to fade away and you wonder who you are? Then what is the good of that identity?
Last night, I told stories from my first plays. I talked about everything I had known for the last ten years and beyond. I realized that the theatre group and my friends there had become apart of my identity. Now, I am being forced to move on.
Living in my house. Homeschooling. Being friends with my friends. Those are all parts of my identity, too. These can all fade away as well.
Tonight, I started a picture collage to display at my grad ceremony. It was an exhaustive process as there were several pictures I wanted to use. Some were silly, others were flattering, and others were full of good memories and people I love. All of them said something about me and my identity as it has been.
I chose, deleted, and chose again many times. I wanted to paint a picture of a girl. I wanted her to be beautiful, fun, and smart. I chose pictures of her when she was little and cute and then when she was older in pretty dresses; shots with pom-poms on her head, and another with a Charlotte Bronte in hand. I wanted people to think that she was interesting, kind, and sweet. I chose pictures of her in the newspaper for plays, building a house, and playing with Mexican children. So I formed an identity off of baby pictures, newspaper clippings, and silly shots and hoped that people would think I was amazing.
The human mind is very vain at times. Identity, when found in our own shallow selves, is empty. Because life goes on whether you want it to or not. The theatre group you were part of during childhood ends. Because nothing human ever lasts. The picture you try to paint by a display board full of photos could burn in a fire. When our identity is not rooted it wilts.
It’s taken me about eighteen years to realize it, but true identity can only be found in Christ. It is not possible to find real satisfaction or joy anywhere else. Because the person you were at six or sixteen fades into someone new. Because the hobbies and jokes and pretty dresses you wear aren’t really that important in comparison to character, callings, and Christ. So when you think of me, I hope you’ll think of Him instead.