Who Am I?

Who Am I?

Who am I, anyway?  It is a question we have all asked ourselves in one way or another.  Even babies and toddlers are seeking the answer to this age old question.  Just as children want to know their name, we seek to identify ourselves but not just by our names.  Our identity is tied up in names that have been assigned to us through a myriad of different avenues.  Little Felix becomes “Butch” when he beats up the neighborhood bully.   Baby girls become “Princess” from the moment the sonogram reveals their gender.  Dawn becomes Pastor.  Helen becomes Mom.  The old adage says, “I don’t care what anyone calls me as long as they don’t call me Late for Dinner.”

Are these really names or are these labels?  Most often they are labels but we also begin to grow into our labels as our identity.  Our labels tell others how we “should” be treated.  The problem is that this might be a false identity.  Yet, that is who we become.  Not all labels are desirable.  I call my son “Bum,” yet he is anything but that.  The stereotype of a bum is disheveled and unkempt.  My son is so neat and organized that it is scary.  I call my youngest “Sugar Plum.”  Yet, when she was little, she would not have eaten a plum, sugared or otherwise, if her very life depended on it.

We all cringe when we hear someone call a child stupid or lazy.  Don’t let me hear anyone call my child a loser or even selfish.  A person can walk into a doctor’s office appearing quite healthy.  When the doctor delivers the news that they have cancer, they walk out looking like that label.  A doctor told me one time that he can predict who is most likely to survive a cancer diagnosis by the way they look when they leave his office.  They either put on the label of sick or the label of fighter/survivor.

Some of our labels are true to who we are.  That can be good or not so good, depending on “who” we are or “who” we have become.  My grandmother called me curious.  Then she would say, “You know, curiosity killed the cat.”  Grammy was right, though.  I was curious and no amount of chastising me stopped my curiosity.  The best part of a new toy or a new watch or my brother’s new toy train was taking it apart.  I had an insatiable need to take things apart to see how they worked.  I still do.  I love gadgets and mechanical puzzles and all sorts of things with interesting parts.  The problem is, sometimes, I cannot put them back together.  I have wrecked more than one watch and clock in my day.  Do you remember the old chenille bedspreads?  I really got in trouble for pulling the little fuzzy chenille balls out of the cloth to see how they were put in.  I just couldn’t put them back in.  That time Grammy told Mom on me.

My curiosity antagonized Grammy and Mom but I thought it was a great gift.  I still do.  I continue to be very curious and I continue to take things apart and I still consider it a great gift.  Now, however, I put a new label on it.  When people ask me what I do (another version of who are you), I respond that, first and foremost, I am a scientist.  However, I am not a specialty scientist.  I am curious about everything, not just one thing like the stars or a virus.  I am curious about plants and cars and how pianos work.  Yes, I took apart a full size piano.  And, no, I could not put it back together.  I love having a son who likes building things.  Buying him erector sets and Lincoln logs and American bricks was as much fun for me as they were for him.  He grew up to be a researcher and, when he was 20, he built the home  he designed in high school.

Our labels help us determine and join into relationships.  Life as an individual is about identity.  Life among others and other “things” is about relationships. This becomes very complex.  I become friends with Sue and she is friends with Jan but Jan and I don’t hit it off.  I have a relationship with each one of my cats but both relationships are different.  One cat is cute.  The other is grumpy.  I have a relationship with my favorite frying pan and the aloe plant in my kitchen window.  I have relationships with the weather.  My favorite day is to be at home on a cool but foggy day.  Yes, other people think I am weird. I have a relationship with my body and I can breathe better when it is foggy. I have an on again/off again relationship with my checkbook based on how it is behaving.

There are expansive relationships and tiny relationships.  Planets, sun, moon, stars, galaxies create a gazillion relationships—big relationships.  Atoms, molecules, tissues, organs, organ systems, and organisms create incomprehensible relationships.  Each of my 37.2 trillion cells talk to each other individually and in groups.  As astronomers locate new galaxies and biologists discover more tiny particles like quarks, it seems both the big picture and the little picture are expanding.  Yet Scripture says there is nothing new under the sun.

“The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9 KJV).

As Spock would say, “Fascinating.”

As I begin this blog, this is the territory I would like to explore with you—relationships.  Primarily, I want to share with you about the relationships that affect our daily lives.  In church and in seminars, we hear and learn a great deal about relationships with God and with other people.  We learn about marriage and family and health—physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.  Those are all extremely important.  Yet, there is another relationship that we all know intimately that is seldom discussed in church—finances.  Finance is a broad category of relationships.  I would like to take you on a journey of exploration into the world of finance.

Are you interested in taking the journey with me?  I promise it won’t hurt too badly.  One thing I value is feedback.  So, please feel free to contact me on this site.



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