“Who am I?” Without any effort, I can recall the sound of Derek Zoolander’s voice as he looks at his reflection in a puddle and asks himself this question (before being splashed in the face by an oncoming car).

Everything he thought he knew (which wasn’t much, really) was stripped from him in a moment when Hansel, who’s “so hot right now,” won the Model of the Year award. Zoolander had won the title for so long that he didn’t know who he was without it. And, when he finally takes the time to ponder his identity, the universe splashes him in the face in seeming disregard for his internal struggle.

I find myself near tears at that moment in the movie, because I know what it’s like to feel that way. I know what it’s like to try to find the courage to come face-to-face with myself – with my future – and feel like there’s only a confused image staring back at me. I know what it’s like to begin to muster the strength to stand back up again only to be splashed in the face on my way up – a reminder that the world has moved on even if I haven’t.

I know the challenge Zoolander will face when he does find his footing again, walking back into a world where he is tempted to become who everyone expects him to be – a model, idiot.

Who am I? Do I know? when was the last time felt like me and not a reflection of who I think others want me to be? Do I need to take an existential journey, working in the coal mines, to figure myself out?

IMG_1448On Sunday afternoon, Scott and I strapped the leashes on our dogs and ventured out for our first long walk of the year. When we turned out of our neighborhood and onto the adjacent street, I saw a speck of purple that caught my eye. In the midst of dead grass, twigs, and leaves sat the smallest, most unassuming little flower (probably a weed, but that’s beside the point).

I stopped us from walking for a moment to admire the gall of this little flower to stand as a symbol of life amidst death – a sign of the new life yet to come.

As I stared at the little bud, I stood enraptured by the subtle beauty found amongst the dry, brittle land. My mind wandered as I gazed (and made Scott appease me while I took a picture), and the words of a song my sister once sent me ran through my head.

This is what it’s like, finding your feet again.

Finding the part of myself that brings color a bland, colorless space.

The part of you that couldn’t, finally thinks you can.

The breath that was sucked from me finally filling my lungs, making space for new life, giving me strength for another journey.

You’re taking off some time to do this … To know that you are loved.

I walk away from the flower and towards the park, beside the ones who love me most. I see the happiness in their faces and I know that our aimless wanderings are not time wasted, but time spent on the path towards wholeness.

You’re finding your feet again. 

With each step, my confidence grows and I know that I am like that flower. I have the audacity to bring color to a bleak, dry patch. To stand in the middle of death and proclaim life.

The part of you that couldn’t, finally thinks you can.

The universe doesn’t splash me in the face on my way forward today. I walk with confidence that hope, joy, and love are evident within me. There’s no part of me that isn’t bright purple today.

And I hear the flower calling out to me like the benediction of the song:

Go now in the light of your God.
Go now in the love of your God.
Go now in the peace of your God.
Go now in the joy of your God. 

This post is a part of a Lenten discipline I am participating in to write each day on a specific word. These posts reflect daily thought processes and conversations with God as I journey through this season of repentance and reflection. I hope they will be meaningful to those of you who find this space and journey with me.

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