Identity, Security, & An Old Red Truck
Where is our identity? Where is our security? A Prayer of Contemplation.
A few evenings ago the wife and I had an honest conversation about our life together in this period of waiting and searching. We confessed that we have put our hope and identity into jobs, duties, material wealth, and life experiences. Since coming back to the U.S. from our life and jobs in Korea, we have had little to do, no jobs, and no income.
In Korea, we held the respectable position of teachers, and painted the empty periods with world traveling experiences. We saw many lands and peoples, and found a temporary identity and pride in all of these things.
Our feet are now firmly planted on our home soil at the beginning of a new journey. The road ahead divides into many directions, and sometimes what seems like no direction. We want to lay down roots that go down deep into the earth, and plant seeds the bear a worthy harvest. Where is our identity now? Where is our security? They have come crashing down around us with the end of our jobs and lifestyle in Korea. What we had only months ago is done. It is over.
We search, and we wait, and we are being humbled. Oh God. You are healing us of the hopelessness that is in seeking our worth in jobs, in people, and in things.
Truth is that people in our lives come and go; income can come in abundance, or not at all. Possessions wither, rust, and fade away. Even duties and tasks find an end. Everything is temporary, including this life we now have.
I saw this red truck the other day on a photo walk in Amana. I was drawn to its composition in the grass next to an old factory. In its heyday, it likely traveled all around the plains of Iowa hauling tools or products. It had purpose, experiences, and helped generate income for its owner. Now it sits parked in tall grass, the sun baking its red hood. Oxidation and rust have set in.
Jesus is quoted saying in Mathew 6:19-21:
“Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being (The Message).”
The only Thing, the only Person that IS permanent and unchanging is You the Triune God. In Jesus Christ is the life we seek. By His life, death, and resurrection we find our security, and our identity.
Jesus said himself: “I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better than they ever dreamed of (John 10:10 The Message).”
I hear You saying, that if we seek our identity and security in anything but You, we will be let down. You made us, and You know us even more than we know ourselves. Jobs will come and go. Duties will come and go. Material wealth will come and go. Loved ones will come and go. Only You remain unchanged. Only Your love remains eternally.
“Ultimately the only way that I can be myself is to become identified with Him in Whom is hidden the reason and fulfillment of my existence (Thomas Merton: New Seeds of Contemplation, p. 37).”
Father, let us be humbled. Help us let go of that which is coming to an end, and cling to You. May we find You, and be found by You. And in this searching and finding, may we dive into the infinite sea that is Your love, and there find our identity and security.