defining self. remembering others.

defining self

defining self ©2012 Gary Garbett

Between the news I heard last week and the question I was asked this morning, I’ve spent much of today taking a far closer look than normal at myself.

Following my morning coffee, weeding through emails, and a few good morning kisses from the pups, I headed out the door for Sunday worship. Recently I’ve missed more sermons than heard and today I wanted to change that trend. It is after all a new year. For me, the best messages aren’t those that are simply well prepared and delivered from a pulpit, but instead the ones that suggest deeper thought and self-evaluation. Today was one of those kinds of sermons. The takeaway as I made my walk to the car was quite simple, “what defines me?”

Ironically I’d already begun asking myself this very question on Friday afternoon upon hearing that a friend had passed away. I was shocked by the news and to my surprise, she hadn’t passed recently, Friday marked the fourth anniversary and I never knew. Naturally, I spent the balance of Friday in memory mode. It was a healthy mental time and two days after receiving the news, it continues.

The older I become, I find myself holding onto my past more than I once did. I certainly don’t make it a point to live for the past, but I have great respect for it being responsible for much of the very thing my pastor discussed this morning. In all of it’s greatest, worsts, and more than it’s share of mediocre days, my past defines the very man that I am today.

Reflection is a way I continue moving forward. That evaluation of knowing where I’ve been propels me. My father guided and taught me more than his share from the time I was a child through my adulthood. His far too early death nineteen years ago however didn’t erase those life lessons. I still use them… many of them daily.

Although we hadn’t seen one another in several years, the news of Donna’s passing still saddens me. To say that she died too young is such a cliché, but it’s the best I can come up with and the fact is, she did. I’m incredibly grateful however for all of the life and laughter that she brought to mine. Each of them are now blessings.

The passing of time continues to move quicker than it once did, all the while defining me and defining us. Hold onto it.

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