I am a work in progress

This Wednesday, Dave Fisher shares the result of his reflection on the question, “who am I?” – adding to the voices of Marsden and Slaithwaite as we think about ‘who we are’ in relation to who Jesus is. It has been wonderful hearing from so many different people, and we hope to have more to share each Wednesday. If you would like to contribute to the conversation, either in writing or with poetry, with art or photographs – all submissions are welcome. Just contact the Vicar for more information. This website gives a voice to the church of Marsden, Slaithwaite and East Scammonden… and today…

… from Dave Fisher

Graeme asked us to think about this question recently in his sermon. I began to think about it and all I kept coming up with was more questions, which led to the answer that I am a work in progress and you are all part of that progress.

My initial thoughts were:-

  • The astronomers would say we are all stardust, our bodies are made up from material created at the time of the big bang that led to the creation of the universe and all that is in it.
  • Darwin would say I am a successful accident of evolution.
  • People of faith would say God created me in his image and knows me.

None of these either separately or together fully answer the question Graeme posed. Who AM I? not where did I come from? So it’s not about the physical me it’s about something more than that.

The next thought was:-

Am I the person I think I am? Or am I the person that other people think I am? If it’s the first question I need to believe I can truly know myself. In my head there is a picture of me (I ought to know what I look like, I’ve been with me for nearly seven decades). I look in the mirror and that’s not the image I have looking back. Others who have known me for less time can probably give a more accurate description of my appearance.

I know what I believe and on what my faith is based –others have different beliefs and faiths and may think I am wrong in my beliefs. I know what I mean when I say something, the person I am speaking to knows what they hear, the two may be the same or they may be different. I know what my motives are when I do something– others may not recognise the same motive. I am, of course, tall blond and handsome; quite young. I am always very clear in what I say and I am always very sensitive to others, and never act in a way that undermines my faith and belief. Alison, and several of my friends, would say well that just goes to show how deluded I can be.

So it would seem I am more or perhaps less than the person that I think I am. I need others to complete the accuracy of the answer. So it’s not just about what I think and feel or just about what others think and feel, it’s about both views.

I have to accept that I am the person who is responsible for what I do. I also have to accept that others interpret what I do and I bear some responsibility for that.

So who am I depends on interactions with other people. I doubt if the philosopher Descartes would have come up with “ I think therefore I am” if he was the only person in the universe as he wouldn’t have had to justify his existence to anybody. He would have known he existed.

If who I am depends on interaction with others then it seems to me that it must be true that who I am changes as the number of interactions increases. As I get older I think differently, I change my understanding of the world and the people in it. My faith and beliefs have developed because of, and in some case despite, my interactions with God through Sunday school, assemblies at school, various churches I have attended and various vicars I have known.

It seems to me therefore that who I am is an imperfect person who is work in progress, reliant on others to help me towards the better future me. It is an interesting journey full of happiness, some sadness, some regrets and my memories. This me is driven by a desire to be better today than I was yesterday, sometimes I fail at this sometimes, I don’t fail.

The interconnected me is glad all of you that I know are there because you have, and continue to, help make me who I am. I am glad I still have memories of my experiences; sometimes it is hard because sometimes I am responsible for things I wish I hadn’t said or done. But it’s me or, at least I think it is.

Now Graeme what was the other question you asked us to think about? Ah yes, Who is Jesus? Well let me see ……..

Deer Hill Reservoir reflecting the clouds above in a deep blue sky
Deer Hill Reservoir reflects the world around it

2 Comments

  1. Dave – you have given me more to think about and more questions to ask myself. Thanks very much for sharing. Much of my response to Who Am I? related to my connections with people and places over my 50 odd years of life and Christian input. Thanks Ali

  2. Finally got round to reading this – thank you for a thought provoking reflection. I like the notion that who we are changes with interactions, it feels really encouraging that just by being in community we can grow

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