More about the core self, because that post, ‘The Best of Me‘ needs clarification and more thinking. The idea that we get wrong ideas, and then perpetuate them, about who we really are has been one of those swirling, vague, and just out of reach concepts for me. The light just dawning as I enter my sunset season.
I don’t mourn my late entry into this concept since enlightenment has its own time and sequence. We try to find it early in our lives, but our culture, or our own wills, -a number of things, really- , intervene. In terms of eternity, perhaps the important thing is to get it at sometime while we can still do something about adding to the cultural consciousness of it.
We sometimes see Christian doctrine as a static thing. And we are so tainted by modern ideas of what evolution is, that we resist the idea that Christian revelation is at all organic. Simply because our view is that evolution means transposing, when in Christian revelation it is a widening of the vision. “Here a little, there a little, line upon line” until a clearer vision of truth is evident.
“Who am I?” takes a different track… to “Does anyone know me?”, even myself? It is the “Message in a Bottle” transit from feeling alone, and that no one knows me, to understanding that we are all in the same basic situation.
A human condition. But to end there, with that “Message” is to be somewhat despairing, if one really understands the message to begin with.
The more we discover who we are… and what is true of humanity… the more despair grabs hold of us. It gets to the point that the platitudes no longer provide the emollient that they once have. “We are only human”…
Perhaps that is why God takes time to send His message that He does know us, in ways that we find hard to imagine.
Take these for example:
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you”
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.”
“And now the LORD says— he who formed me in the womb to be his servant to bring Jacob back to him and gather Israel to himself, for I am honored in the eyes of the LORD …”
The bottle gets found, the response is there… but we never leave our island, we never even look to see if we are truly on an island. That famous little maxim comes to mind: “No man is an island”*, yet we all have a tendency to feel so, especially in this disjointed post modern world. Until, through interjection of revelation, through driven to despair, or by happy chance.. or grace… we find a reality far from the lies we were told, or that we chose to believe.
This is the beginning of Christian Self esteem. To see what God’s image was meant to look like, what we were meant to look like… to be. It is a beautiful picture of worth and value, of fruit and music, of kindness, goodness, self-control, faithfulness, joyfulness… a realization of paradise within.
How do we catch that view?
Certainly it can’t be until we throw off the old one.
John Donne, Meditation XVII