Monday, February 3, 2014

Who Would I Be Without You?

“That is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great."

Willa Cather

“Who would I be without you?”
That’s really the question we’re all asking, isn’t it?  Who would I be without you?  Who would I be without that special someone, without friends, without a job, without my computer or cell-phone, without money, without health?  Who would I be?
There’s a similar question in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet:  To be or not to be.  In other words, should I be at all?  Is life worth living?  There is so much unfairness and pain in the world.  There’s injustice and pain and needless cruelty.  There’s loneliness and loss.  Hamlet says, since he didn’t know what the afterlife was like, he wasn’t going to kill himself because he might end up somewhere worse.  While I appreciate the perspective that something worse can make us realize that our current problems aren’t so bad, his answer to the question leaves me unsatisfied.
The reason for my deepest pain may lie in the idea that if something or someone ends with nothing, then I too am nothing.  If I don’t have that relationship or that job or that money or that possession, then I am nothing.  The idea that my identity depends on anything else outside of me is sad at best and dangerous at best.  The truth is that I was born with nothing and I will leave with nothing.  Nothing external, anyway. 
All that I am, all that I want to be or am afraid to be depends on me.  It depends on my choices.   Where then does God come into this?  When the prophet Samuel was looking for a king for Israel, God, rejecting the current king, said,  
"Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."
God looks at our hearts.  He looks at our desires and, more importantly, our choices.  Because the heart is really about the choices we make.  We say a lot of things, but we often do the things our heart tells us to do.  When we don’t it’s because we are not following our hearts.  But it is my heart that determines who I am, and it is my actions that determine my heart.  It is also my actions that determine my destiny.
What about love?  Love exists to the degree that I love myself.  The greatest relationship in the world will become tainted without love for myself.  This is not an original thought, but the more I love myself, the more I can truly love others.  And love for myself is also determined by my choices and by living in my Purpose. 
I am not my relationships or my jobs or anything external.  I am my choices.  If I don’t like who I am, then I can make different choices, in word, thought and deed.  This is why I started writing over a year ago.  I didn’t like who I was becoming.  I didn’t like what my life was becoming.  And all it took to change it was a simple choice, one that I have had to make over and over, day after day, for over a year and for the rest of my life.
I don’t want to keep living because I’m afraid of dying.  If I’m afraid, then I’m already dying.  I want to keep living because I have reasons to live.  I am here for a Purpose.  In fact, I’m here for many Purposes.
Who would I be without you?  Whoever I want to be.  It is my choice.  Yes, there’s loss and sadness and pain, but these are not the sum of life.  There is also birth and renewal and hope ad Purpose.  There is joy.  This way is much more difficult.  It takes courage to live and it takes more courage to live for a reason.  It takes courage to Get Started and Keep Going.
For me, however, it is the only choice.