Identity, Pt. I

2014/11/18 § Leave a comment

At the moment, I am eating a sprinkle-y cake donut from Voodoo Donuts and drinking a Jubelale. I just had some rye whiskey, and I have been reading a friend’s old blog posts – one on a conversation he had with a man at the local coffee shop concerning the interpretation of 1 Cor. 15, and the second having to do with the arrival of his (then) newborn son. I can relate with the newborn son part, now, unlike then.

For the past couple years I have been struggling with questions of identity – that is, who am I?; where do I find my identity?; how ought I to understand who I am in light of my relationship to Christ?; etc. To spare you the pain of listening to details not refined by reflection, I will summarize.

I moved to Yakima my senior year of high school and quickly had to adapt to my surroundings. I embraced new relationships through my church, utilized my musical talent at the same place (and at my school) and found myself enjoying aspects of the city to which I moved. On the other hand, I recoiled at the sight of a new high school, choosing to spend as little time there as possible, and in its place, took classes through Running Start at the community college. I also found myself resenting my parents a little.

But all in all I had some good times. As mentioned before, I made friends (friends that have stayed with me through the years). I expanded and developed my skill as a drummer, forming with my fellow musicians and friends a combo at the college. I also had a steady relationship with a girl. I also grew in my appreciation for independence. And teriyaki. Lord God, you know how much I loved that teriyaki.

Yakima was a terrible place to move though. It was painful.

I remember the gut-wrenching feeling I had when my parents told us that we would be moving to Yakima, in central Washington. To this day, I have felt nothing similar. It stands alone as one of the most shocking moments in my life, one of the most difficult moments in my life, one of the most complicated moments in my life. And what makes it so complicated is the array of feelings I had for it.

Imagine had I been enthralled to move somewhere new, away from Seattle, away from my friends and the big city. I suppose this could have been possible. I suppose it could have happened. My experience would have been very different. I may have apprehended the good-intentions of my parents much more readily and been prepared to defend them to my siblings, and to any others that may have doubted their validity.

Unfortunately, though, this was not the case.

I remember the cold, frosty mornings of fall in Yakima. They were harsh, and they only got harsher after winter came.

You see, I began every morning with Jazz Band at the high school at 7am. So while traveling to this very early activity, I was greeted with the very morbid experience of running over what I can only assume was a dead dog of some sort. That’s right. A dead dog. The event left blood all over the bottom of my car – hidden from me until the second major event of the morning. It was sickening, and the fact that it was a hellish hour (and probably a Monday or something) made the whole thing all the worse.

I also remember another incident occurring that same fateful morning while en route to the college for class. Following jazz band, I would travel to the local community college for my classes (which, if I am not mistaken, were all in the morning).

So on this particular morning, I had just left the high school in my car (a silver 1989 Ford Probe) and had passed the orchard fields that lined the road up to the school. I was descending, down the hill toward the stop light at Zier Rd., when all of a sudden, a small truck appears (apparently interested in passing me on my right side). In a short moment, the truck had swerved to avoid a mail box (I do not recall if he missed it) and struck my car in the front right quadrant. Now, all ended well, eventually. The truck was driven by a fellow student from my school, and his dad later facilitated a professional response to the damage, owning up to one-hundred-percent of the accident, and totally taking care of repairs.

But this accident was a shock to me.

I had never been in an accident, nor had I ever run over a large animal before this – the latter became apparent to me only after the event – so the whole thing came as quite a shock.

Anyway, after exchanging info with the driver of the truck, I continued on with my day and headed toward the college for my morning classes. Upon my departure from school, however, I was abruptly pulled over by a police cruiser. This came as a surprise to me, as I’m sure you can imagine.

Now, being pulled over by a police officer, however your morning looks, can seem dismal at the time. But considering my morning thus far, I was ridden with fear and anxiety about the whole thing. When pulled over, I was convinced that the officers had seen blood on the car and were pulling me over to arrest me. I was certain I would spend the night in jail. One phone call would be allowed. I would probably squander it by making a call to a wrong number, or something of the sort (this was back in the day that you had to remember phone numbers, and dial them with your fingertips).

But the officers didn’t arrest me; they didn’t even ask me about the blood on the bottom of my car (perhaps they didn’t see it). Instead, I was informed that my tabs had expired and was given a ticket.

My tabs.

This came as a shock to me, as had nearly all other events this morning.

Later that day, I told my parents what had happened, and I thought it fantastical that these events had so effortlessly lined -up as they did. The entire thing seemed comedic.

And as I sit here contemplating this experience and attempting to remember all of the details of that day, I am reminded of the way I felt: confusion, sadness, longing for my old life in Seattle, insecurity, fear, desperation, and finally, loneliness. The event itself jolted me and made me painfully aware of the new circumstances I was in, and how utterly alone and isolated I felt.

This was my life. I now lived in central Washington. I went to high school at West Valley in the suburb/sticks. I had no friends. I had a silver Probe that I drove, and when I drove I got hit. There was blood on my car. I played drums in my jazz band. I was pulled over for expired tabs.

This donut is so good.


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