Who are we?

I was watching a 2-minute video by Don Miguel Ruiz called The Truth about Cats and Dogs. He talked about how cats do not identify themselves as cats or dogs as dogs or any animal as a species or series of roles. As we are not a part of those species, we will never know that for sure. However, his whole point was that we are more then any word we use to identify ourselves.

As I thought about this, I found myself going back to a story from the book of Exodus in the Hebrew Bible. There Moses asks God, who shall I say sent me. He wants to know how he should identify God to the people. According to Exodus 3:14, God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.'"

If someone asks me who I am, I find myself trying to find words that capture the essence of who I am, however, there is not a word that captures that. Sometimes I am tempted to use the words from Exodus and just say I am who I am.

There are many ways we can identify ourselves, however, do any of them capture the fullness of who we are. Or do they limit our understanding of who we are and our potential as spiritual beings. So many of the words which as humans we tend to use to describe who we are come with a whole set of ascribed meanings and understandings. I am a daughter. However, my experience and who I am as a daughter does not define me, nor is it the same experience as any one else. For example, I am daughter to two people who have never met me and whom I will probably never meet in this lifetime. I am daughter to a couple who took me and loved me while I was living with them. I am daughter to the couple who legally adopted me and birthed me through their hearts. Being a daughter does not define who I am.

There are many words we, or others, can use to identify us. However, are we those labels? Sister Helen Prejean challenges this whole notion of identity in another manner. She asks why we remember someone by the single worst thing they have ever done. This question emerged from her work with people on death row; however, it applies to humanity in general. Are we not more then a single incident in our lives? As I reflect back on my lives, I can remember many things, which I would prefer not to be remembered for. I am far more then any single moment in time.

This brings me back to the original question. Who are we? Well, I am going to begin to answer this for you. However, for me, I am who I am.