I am a flower swiftly fading, here today and gone tomorrow.
A wave tossed in the ocean, a vapor in the wind. (Casting Crowns – Who Am I?)
A question like, who are you, produces so many different ways to answer. There are the direct and straight forward answers – I am Kendra, K, The Countess, and texancountess all on this blog. I am a wife, daughter, sister, friend, teacher, cousin, aunt, and so much more. But that just gives you basic facts about me. Facts that would be the same for anyone and it fails to tell you who I am.
Not too long ago, though ancient in history by the youth of today’s standards, a woman sat in a parking lot of a doctor’s office. By some accounts she was in tears, by her own she had already suspected but was still a little surprised. Her 5 month old daughter was sleeping peacefully in the back of the car and her seven year old was at school waiting to be picked up. She was pregnant, again. An unexpected blessing after years of fertility problems. Later, that sweetly sleeping infant would say of the new blessing, “I wish God had bornded her without a mouth.”
I could direct you to my Biography page, where I list some other series of facts about myself. This might give you a slightly better idea of who I am, but still you would walk away not knowing me, only knowing some base things about me. You see, I don’t think you can answer a question like who are you, without being willing to bare your soul to the person who asked. Because, only in being real and open and raw with someone can you know who they are.
The girls ran around on the playground, they had been best friends forever, which in the terms of 7 year olds, meant at least back to when they were five. Two of them were cousins and the third was the interloper, the outsider. She never saw it coming. The crack of flesh, hand against cheek, was sudden. “You slapped me,” cried the startled outsider, horrified at the betrayal of this closest companion.
I have been told many times that I am a contradiction. I often joke that I am a “sweet, innocent, anti-authoritarian anarchist who loves God and Country.” And it’s true in so many ways. I love juxtapositions, so I only suppose it’s fair that I am one myself. On a recent trip, a new acquaintance commented that B and I were, “not so much about balance as about running screaming in opposite directions.”
They were sitting on the floor of her apartment, not on either of the two comfy couches, but wedged between the futon and the cedar chest. She had just told him that she was a virgin who wanted to stay that way and he had hugged her and said it was okay. They hadn’t seen each other in three weeks and the whole drive down that day he’d been teasing her about why he was coming to see her. Her smile. She was goofy. She was a free place to stay on the way to his training. But, about five minutes before he had told her he wanted to tell her the real reason he was coming to see her. He’d been sitting silently since, clearly struggling with what he wanted to say. Sitting in silence was not her forte, but for possibly the only time in her life, she managed it. He finally said, “I came back to see you, because…because I’m falling in love with you.”
We are the product of every event that ever happens to us. I suppose the melodramatic way to put it would be to say that we are victims of our environments. But I don’t believe that, every circumstance that happens to us can be assimilated into our lives in many ways. Some good, some bad, but their overall power over us is our choice. We can be made to run ahead of the ruin of the past or we can stand our ground and become stronger for it.
She was about to move away from every one. She’d already quit her jobs, turned in her notice at her apartment complex, and arranged for the trailer to drive her belongings 1500 miles away. Her parents told her they would miss her, but that she had to take the opportunity to find out if this was forever or not. Not going was never an option for her, she couldn’t live her life not knowing. But now, the family that couldn’t approve. Get your own apartment, they said. I can’t, she replied, I don’t know when I’ll get a job or how much longer he’ll be there. Live with an older couple, they plead. I won’t, she responded, I’m going up there to see him and with his work hours if I’m living with someone else than I’ll never see him anyway. This won’t end well for you, they warned. But it will, she countered, because it is life and I am learning from it even as I am living it. How can we pray for her to change her mind, they asked her Mom. You can’t, replied Mom, but you could pray for God to protect her on the drive, and take care of the small details while she’s up there. A dear friend later grabbed her left hand and said, “I won’t be happy for you until there is a ring on this finger.”
Every person we meet in life leaves a mark on us. Some good, some bad. I’ve known boys that have broken my heart, friends that have lifted my spirits, and people that have taught me to never turn out like they did. The first boy that I kissed taught me to make sure that any partner in life treated me like an equal and not a possession. My oldest sister taught me of the resiliency of the human spirit to keep fighting and come back stronger than ever before. My husband has taught me how to be wholly loved and how to love wholly back.
I stood in front of him under a tree. Just staring at him in joy, overwhelmed, trying not to cry. He looked back in joy, exhaustion from the long week of work, some amount of astonishment that it was that easy. Around us, one friend snapped pictures as the other two stood with the County Clerk going over what they needed to sign to make this officially official. There was nothing left to be said, nothing left to do. “I love you, my husband.”
So, “who am I?” I am me. A girl trying her best to make her way in this crazy world. I won’t always make the right choices, and even worse, I probably won’t always regret making the wrong ones. I would never be where I am today, in Turkey in case you’re wondering, if I hadn’t made the “wrong” choice to move in with my boyfriend. I wouldn’t be who I am today without all the mistakes, choices, decisions, and life that goes before me.
Now tell me, who are you?