Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Who Am I?

My husband Arvo pointed his phone at the sky. There was Jupiter, right in the screen of my smart phone. And all the other stars and planets were named as well. I looked at the bright shining orb in the night, the real one, not the one on the phone screen.
"So that's Jupiter," I said in wonder.
"You can even look through the world to the sky on the other side," he said.
He pointed the phone down at the ground and the sky map showed other stars of the eastern hemisphere, including the sun which was of course currently shining on the other side of the world.
I was still entranced by Jupiter.
Arvo got our telescope out and beamed its lens on Jupiter. We couldn't see any details, but we could see several of Jupiter's moons. We dragged Asherel out to look at Jupiter's moons.
What a beautiful universe.

There is so much to fret over. We are such a self focused species. And yet, look at the night sky! Jupiter and all its moons suspended against a backdrop of limitless space, spinning around a sun in the dance of the infinite stars.
Why am I here, in the midst of all this grandeur? Have you ever stood before a mirror and gazed steadily into your own eyes, asking yourself who you are? I have. It is a little scary. To step outside oneself and look back trying to understand the nature of consciousness is, in my mind, as impenetrable a distance as the trek to Jupiter. Ultimately, I cannot stare very long into my own eyes. I turn away. So who just won that stare-down, I ask myself? And who exactly is staring at whom? There is an eerie "otherness" in the image staring back at me.

There is an interesting point/counterpoint of this very question in the Bible. If you do a word search of "Who am I", there are over 200 references. In each case, it is humans who frame the question with the words in that order - who, am, I .
God alone shifts the order. He alone says, "I am who I am." He is the author of all existence, and the only one who isn't wondering why He is here or who He is. This is perhaps the greatest statement of contentment there could be: "I am who I am."  And because God is secure in who He is, we can be secure in who we are, created by His hand, and placed where we could gaze out at shimmering Jupiter, suspended in the infinite darkness.

Exodus 3:11
11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I...

Exodus 3:14
  14 God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”

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