Who I am is not relevant. What is relevant is where I have been and what I have seen.
The journey began in my youth. Laying flat on the driveway in suburbia while gazing at the stars, I would notice my neighbors coming home after another long day of work, repeating the process six days a week, while attending church on the seventh and talking about how God is good. Beautiful homes, luxurious landscaping, expensive cars, extravagant clothing, and manicured lives, without a single moment to enjoy any of it.
“Everything is meaningless; a chasing after the wind.”
I know a lie when I see or hear it, and I saw and heard a grandiose lie weaving its way into my future. Surely, there had to be something more to this life, right? So, instead of signing on the dotted line, as the rest of my friends were doing, I made an abrupt turn and wandered into the hills, seeking knowledge and wisdom, long before I had ever heard of an ancient king named Solomon.
In the wilderness I found Christ, a figure altogether different than the edifices erected in His name testify Him to be. It was in the wilderness I stayed, led onward by Him who is unseen, through numerous experiences that would make the religious majority shudder.
I have lived as a disciple in the belly of the beast. The tale is for you.
“I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all of my work, and this was the reward for all my labor. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.”
Who am I? I could point at any number of labels to describe me: husband, father, lover, philosopher, counselor, teacher, drug-user, sage, scribe, hypocrite, preacher, ex-husband, ex-father, and sinner. I have been all of these, and much more, at one point or another. All have faded into obscurity, meaningless labels that do not capture who I am at this moment, or at any other moment, even as I have exercised the traits and tasks implied within each label.
But if you insist on having a label, I would suggest the word “disciple”. I’ll let you judge for yourself whether the label fits.