Everyone says just “be yourself.” What does that mean? It seems “who I am” has changed three or four times throughout my life.
I have been an insecure child, a very young wife and mother, a single mother raising two kids, an upper-level corporate manager. And then there is who I am now. I find myself in a space where I am not any of the things I was before, a space called retirement–the golden years.
In her book, The Gift of Years: Growing Older Gracefully, Joan Chittister asks three questions, “What am I when I am no longer young enough to strive for a position, to garner another trophy, to get another raise, to race off in the morning to put in hours at the local office of some company?”
“Who am I when the job ends and I find myself with barely enough money to pay the rent?”
She sums it up with, “What am I when I am nothing else?”
[bctt tweet=”We must embody the gifts and practices that have made us who we are.”]
Most of our lives are centered around doing: doing things for our children, doing something for a living, doing something at church–doing, doing, doing. Then all of a sudden, one day, all of that changes, and we are left with what seems to be little or no identity.
That’s basically what birthdays feel like for me.
Fortunately, God helped me to realize that we each need somewhere we can make a contribution–something that is bigger than ourselves. As Christian women, we must remember who we are and continue to share God’s love.
We must embody the gifts and practices that have made us who we are. As daughters of God, we are each unique and have valuable contributions to make.
Today, I am thankful for the gift of Women of the ELCA. I am thankful for the thousands of volunteers who inspire me as they take time in the midst of their busy lives to donate their time, their skills, their gifts and their money to continue God’s mission in the world. I am thankful I have come to value who I am even when I am nothing else.
A wise person once said, “The older generation has a great deal to give the world. But first, they must come to value it themselves.”
Patti Austin is president of the Women of the ELCA executive board. If you enjoy our blogs, Donate Now.
Photo by Kenn W. Kiser, Morguefile