Where am I?
It’s a question I’ve been asked a lot lately. It’s what I’ve been asking myself. Every time I get a text or phone call from someone questioning my appearance in real life and social media I never know what to say. It’s such a simple question with such a complex answer. In fact, this is the first question God asked Adam and Eve in the garden after they ate the forbidden fruit and attempted to hide from Him.
“We’re naked!” Adam and Eve responded. But that didn’t answer God’s question. See, he knew where they were hiding (hello, He knows all). He knew they were naked. He knew they ate the fruit. He knew the consequences that would come as a result. So why did He ask? He asked Adam and Eve because He wanted them to consider that where their physical bodies were at that moment, huddled under leaves and branches, was not where He wanted them to be. He wanted them to consider that the mental state that had lead to eating the fruit was not where they should be. He wanted them to ask themselves, where am I?
Where are you Janae?
On April 28, 2019, my biological father died and since then I’ve been rehearsing this question repeatedly in my head. I believe that it is impossible to move forward in life if you cannot periodically take inventory of where you are. If you do not question your present how can you move toward a specific future. When I need to grab a pen that I know is on my desk upstairs, I must first consciously recognize that I am downstairs in the kitchen. This consciousness usually happens quicker than you can blink. We never think about it in situations like this. But what happens when you have to do the same thing with the direction of your life?
This is where I have been. Standing in the middle of a crosswalk with at least 10 different roads in every direction that I am able to travel on. I know what my destination looks like but I am unsure how to get there and which of these roads will take me there. I could easily just pick one and begin my journey but what if that road is going in the opposite direction. What if that road is unsafe for me to travel. What if the road ends suddenly and I have to turn around and end up back at the crosswalk. What if the road that looks the easiest is the one that has a secret trap door waiting to swallow me up. What if the road that is dark and scary looking is the one that will take me to my destination but I’m too afraid to walk along it?
Where are you?
Daily I’m bombarded with a list of questions that at their core demand to know ‘where are you?’. They scream at me from the time I wake up until the time sleep consumes me in the wee hours of the morning. I never have the courage to answer because then if I did then I would have to face the truth. I would have to be vulnerable. I would have to be…naked. Just like Adam and Eve, I would have to stripped down in front of the One who judges. The One who knows all. Not so that He can know me but so I can see myself from His vantage point. But what if I don’t like what I see? What if looking at me is not who I’ve said I am all these years. What if I’m not as smart, not as pretty, not as put together, not as thoughtful as I thought?
So, I hide. I hide beneath the leaves and branches of shade in the garden hoping to never answer the true question at hand because subconsciously I already know the answer….
“Where are you?” His voice beckons a response.
“I’m alone.” I answer coming out of the shade into the light. I can almost feel the molecules of melanin soaking in the warm sunlight as it dances across my skin.
“Where are you?”
“I am alone.” I say again less self assured.
“You’re with me and I have defeated the world. In its place, I give you peace.”
I can no longer allow my vantage point to be from social media or the expectations of others. I have to be brave enough to step into the sunlight and since this is a moment of honest confession, I’m not there yet. I’m not ready to wholly see myself because so far what I see is not me. It’s not the fearlessly, independent woman I was raised to be. It’s a scared little girl who needs her mommy and daddy to protect her, tell her who she is and tell her which road to take.
Just like Adam and Eve, as this constant argument continues in my head, I hear God saying, “Just step into the sunlight. Step in!”.
It’s scary being an orphan because somehow you just know that you aren’t equipped to handle any road you see before you but there’s also limited choices. Live or die. I’m choosing life. I’m choosing peace over sorrow. And through my pain, I know that something will be birthed out of me that is new. Something that has never been seen before. Nothing that comes easy lasts. The things in life that are truly appreciated are the things that do not come easy and can not be easily duplicated or changed.
I imagine death so much it feels like a memory-Lin Manuel Miranda as Alexander Hamilton in ‘Hamilton’
The solution to Adam and Eve’s problem is the same one I will take…just walk.
k, good talk