This is the season of graduations, and I have a Beloved one who graduates from high school in a couple of weeks. I am noticing the questions that are asked of young people at this stage. Queries range from “where have you been and what have you done?” to “where are you going and what will you do?”
It draws me back to the concept of the Hebraic God, Yahweh, who was given the name YHWH because this god was “the one who cannot be named.” This god made the response “I am who I am” when the people’s curiosity got the best of them. This god felt no compunction to offer a litany of references, nor to reply with all their godly qualities that proved fitness for the task ahead.
Instead this great “I am who I am” appears on the scene at random times, often unbidden, to show the people how more fully be who they are meant to be. YHWH leads them out of slavery. Guides them to new land. Invites them into communal life.
There is so much pressure to be a certain kind of a person, to aspire to a particular job or earn a good reputation. The “I am who I am” is the faithful reminder that I am who I am not because of successes or failures, or because of where I come from, or because of what I am becoming. I am loved simply by virtue of being human… being who I am. What a great relief and gift to be accepted in this way.
Note: This photo was taken by Maia in an experiential exhibit of artist Yayoi Kusama. Kusama is a Japanese artist who struggled mightily with mental illness, born in 1929, and just recently become popular. Her work utilizes the viewer as an instrument to express the concept of infinity, and she has created a series of Infinity Rooms. This is a visual reminder that we embody a fragment of infinity by an artist who is fully who they are, without apology or explanation.