This Is Me
There’s a television show called This Is Us that I’ve gotten hooked on, even though I don’t usually watch much TV. The show is about a family of two brothers and their sister, who deal with life’s ups and downs and all of its messiness. It depicts the complexity of relationships and how in the end those relationships are intertwined with love. The messiness and love combine to reveal the story of the This is Us cast of characters. The show reminds me that life is messy, yet it’s often through the messiness that unconditional love is discovered and encountered. Through the clay and mud of our life, we grow. We experience transformation.
I wonder if there’s another story that each of us has beneath the This Is Us story, a story that says: This Is Me. Me—with all my warts and insecurities, my fear and stumbling, which is combined with the incredible gifts each of has been given and the remarkable life we are living.
This is Me—mud and clay, gift and glory. And perhaps it’s in the discovering and claiming This is Me—that we find our True Self.
Discovering Me is a life long journey because we’re often as mysterious as a misty fogged morning. We begin the journey with a bag full of unique individual talents and characteristics. We’re given the freedom to use those treasures buried within us, to discover our purpose in life, to find out what’s life-giving for us and what’s not, and to use those gifts to make the world a better place.
But somewhere along the way the messiness seeps in. We pick up onion skins of self-protection and survival to shield our self from hurt and pain. And those onion skins eventually mask our True Self. We become rooted in fear, instead of love, and attempt to hide behind a false wall. Eventually, if we want to be happy, we have to take that wall down brick-by-brick so we can grow and return to the True Self tucked safely within us.
Claiming This is Me doesn’t excuse us from the journey of naming our false self and doing the inner work to grow. Rather, it allows us to recognize those negative parts of our character we’ve built up over the years, and then invite our True Self to love that false self into wholeness, peace, moderation and balance.
For example, over the years, I’ve discovered within myself the gifts of writing, encouragement, and mentoring. But I also see how I’ve hidden those gifts underneath the burden of daily life and self-doubt. I’ve recognized I have a false self that continues to badger me about not doing enough, not being enough, not giving back enough to life. That muddiness has allowed me to recognize the invitation to self-love, the invitation to allow myself to simply be who I am and become comfortable in my own skin, as I am, here and now.
This is Me—I’m beginning to be able to say with a sense of humility and honesty. I am a work in progress. There are parts of me that are being transformed, that need inner work. And intertwined within that messiness is the gift of unconditional love for myself and others, that allows me to claim who I am: the divine energy of God’s love made flesh as a conduit to create more love in the world.
This is Me.
This is You.
This is Us.
—brian j plachta
I never got that kiss with Teresa. But as I reflect on that long-ago night, I realize Sister Carmella shared two pieces of wisdom I’ll never forget: to leave room for Jesus and the healing power of a smile.