That’s Who I Am

Scott and I recently watched a movie called “That’s What I Am” which is a coming of age story about a young boy who begins to understand the impact and devastating outcomes of bullying in the lives of his friends and fellow students in mid-60s California.

The movie is a part of the WWE’s (World Wrestling Entertainment) new campaign against bullying called “Be A Star.” The movie stars Ed Harris, Amy Madigan and wrestler, Randy Orton. It is presented in a “Wonder Years” fashion with a flashback narrative outlining the events of a young boy’s life and the impact one teacher made on a variety of student’s lives. I am not inclined to say that blind tolerance is the answer, but the theme presented by Ed Harris’ character at one point is worth thinking about: “Compassion + Human Dignity = Peace”

I think the title misses the mark with the idea that what a person does defines their identity. If I define my identity by what I do then I am truly a mess-a wanderer still finding my way. I think if we look hard – even those who always “do the right thing” have some messiness in their lives.

The young man through whom the story of “That’s What I Am” is told says, “I’m a writer.”

That gives me pause. A few years ago when I first began blogging, I wrote: “I’m a writer whether I am ever published or not.” Writing swirls all around me, words mean so much to me. I write because since I can remember words and pictures tell stories for me and about me. I cannot pick up a fiction novel and read it without placing myself in the role of the lead female character. I imagine the characters, places and events in vivid detail – like a movie rolling through my mind as I read.

And so it begins. At the beginning of the year I set out on a journey, one that pressed me to consider if I would ever seek to write a book and publish it in my lifetime. I entered a manuscript contest and made it through the semifinal round before losing hope of being recognized for publication. The email offered me a discount on self-publication, which I am considering. I found out about the contest fifteen days before the deadline for entering. I needed a ten thousand word manuscript. I had a lot of rough drafts, but nothing really to present. I wrote eleven thousand plus words in those two weeks from scratch.

I have a handful of started manuscripts, and think back to those first four hundred and ninety-eight pages of handwritten manuscript I wrote on loose leaf notebook paper in 1992 and 1993. I kept it in a large three ring binder hoping someday to present it for publication back then. In the many moves I have made in this lifetime, those pages have become lost to me over the years. Still, the writing has not been lost. It has grown.

I am a writer – a state of being not doing. In 2007, God gave me Habakkuk 2:2-3 “Write the vision and make it plain so that those who read it may run with it.” (my memory). Since that time I have been typing out the letters of my heart on the internet pages of my blog. Today I set out on another journey. I start my first book.

God presented the title to me this week while I drove Brittany to work. I had been listening to a series on realizing your dream by John Maxwell when the words began repeating themselves in my mind. I told her to get out the small notebook in my purse and write down the words. She did just what I asked.

Today I feel a quiet resolve, not the pounding, heartbeat kind of passion with which I sat down and wrote the other words I have presented in my life. But that same quiet resolve to reveal as best I know how the words God impresses upon my heart about life, love and living fully redeemed.

I covet your prayers in this endeavor. I know God’s will cannot be stopped and I, for the first time in years, feel I am resting in the center of it once again. The safest place I know to be.


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