Marcy S., age 47, North Carolina

From One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

“…I’d take a look at my own self in the mirror and wonder how it was possible that anybody could manage such an enormous thing as being what he was… That ain’t me, that ain’t my face. It wasn’t even me when I was trying to be that face. I wasn’t even really me then. I was just being the way I looked, the way people wanted. It don’t seem like I ever have been me. How can McMurphy be what he is?”

The eternal search for one’s real self. I wonder if anyone ever finds himself long enough and fully enough to be himself. The rare moments that I have found and been my true self have come unexpectedly when I was making no effort to find and no effort to relax. This search isn’t like looking for a lost item around the house where you do have to make an effort. That is, if you’re looking for something that someone else misplaced. If you misplaced it yourself, sometimes you remember where you put it if you just stop trying to remember.

What is a person’s real, true self? Is he born with it or does it grow within him as he lives? I think the true self is a gift of God — it is creative, it is free, self-giving, open, trusting and trustworthy. Is this what it means to be filled with the Holy Spirit? Integrity, wholeness. When we lose our lives we find them.

Is it because we are finite that we are incapable of figuring things out for ourselves, of conducting our own search for self and finding and being who we really are? If we believe that God created us then we really can’t find ourselves apart form Him. There’s a verse in the Bible about “our lives bing hidden with Christ in God” (or in Christ with God?).