Who am I?

Who am I?
They often tell me that I would step from my prison
             cell poised, cheerful and sturdy,
             like a nobleman from his country estate.
Who am I? They often tell me I would speak with my guards
             freely, pleasantly and firmly,
                         as if I had it to command.
Who am I? I have also been told that I suffer the days of
             misfortune with serenity, smiles and pride,
             as someone accustomed to victory.

Am I really what others say about me?
Or am I only what I know of myself?
Restless, yearning and sick,
            like a bird in a cage, struggling for the breath of life,
            as though someone were choking my throat;
hungering for colors,
            for flowers,
                     for the songs of birds,
thirsting for kind words and human closeness,
shaking with anger at capricious tyranny and the
           pettiest slurs,
bedeviled by anxiety,
awaiting great events that might never occur,
fearfully powerless and worried for friends far away,
           weary and empty in prayer,
                                            in thinking,
                                            in doing,
weak and ready to take leave of it all.

Who am I? this man or that other?
Am I then this man today and tomorrow another?
Am I both all at once?
             An imposter to others,
             but to me little more than a whining, despicable weakling?

Does what is in me compare to a vanquished army,
that flees in disorder before a battle already won?

Who am I? They mock me those lonely questions of mine,
Whoever I am, you know me, O God. You know I am yours.

-Dietrich Bonhoeffer

3 responses to “Who am I?”

  1. caitlin macy-beckwith Avatar
    caitlin macy-beckwith

    hey casey!

    my name is caitlin and i live in the seattle area, as well… 🙂 was curious, seeing your ardent discipleship of bonhoeffer, if you caught taproot theatre’s production of “the beams are creaking” last spring (based on bonhoeffer’s life). i work at taproot now and LOVED the show when i saw it – felt that it was a beautiful portrayal of his life and courageous ministry.

    taproot’s current production is “freud’s last session,” based on a hypothetical meeting/debate between c.s. lewis (who i feel to be my own personal “teacher”) and sigmund freud. it’s excellent, and i’m sure you’d enjoy it. 🙂

    anyway, keep up the blog musings and take care!

    ~ caitlin m-b

    1. Hey Catlin

      Thanks for letting me know that! I’ve seen the signs for the Freud play & it looks really interesting. I’m new to Seattle, however, so I did miss the Bonhoeffer play.

      How much longer is the Freud play going for? I was thinking about hitting that up with my girlfriend before it ends.

      1. caitlin macy-beckwith Avatar
        caitlin macy-beckwith

        it runs ’til april 21st, i believe – though, if word-of-mouth is strong enough, it might get an extension. definitely catch it if you can! i know this saturday night’s show is almost sold out, so wed/thurs night shows are your best bet for guaranteed seats. you shouldn’t have a problem getting in the sooner you go. 🙂

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