There is a woman that lives down the road (not “street” as I have learned streets are only in the city and roads are what we have in the country) from me. She is somewhat of a celebrity, so I hear. She was on a reality show a few years back. The little town that we live in at one point had her name on the welcome sign. Had being the key word.
I have read articles about her and understand that she got a tattoo that signifies her participation in the show. I have been behind her as we were both driving down our country road to our respective homes and noticed that even her vehicle license plate is representative of that season in her life. One could say it was a defining moment.
The interesting thing is I have never met this woman and here I am writing a blog about her. Even though I have never met her, I have an interest in her. She intrigues me but perhaps not in the way that most people might think. I see her normal house and her normal car. All are signs of a very normal, ordinary life. I have even seen her working in her yard. I wonder about her the person – the before the show – the after. I heard (small town, what can I say?) that she used to be a police officer in DC. I imagine that she has some interesting stories to tell!
Every time I drive by her house my mind wanders. She becomes a character in a story. One of the telltale signs of being a writer I suppose! Call me nosey or inquisitive. I prefer to say that I have a vivid imagination and a real interest in people. In any case, she is somewhat of a prompt for me.
When I think about her, most often I ponder defining moments, mainly my own. I even try to define what a defining moment really is. It seems simple enough really – a moment in time that defines something whether it be a success, a failure, or an accomplishment – a moment when our character shines or does not.
Who gets to decide what our defining moments are? Isn’t this quite subjective? Perception invariably plays a part.
An example that comes to mind would be a renowned professional at the top of his or her field that gets caught doing something that sends them to prison. Public opinion might be that person just had their defining moment – career over. However, what if the person who went to prison chooses to call it a mistake and grows from it. Perhaps, that person has not realized their defining moment yet.
So often, I think we are too quick to give away the pen and allow others to author the definition of who we are. Perhaps we allow our mistakes or our careers to speak for who we are. We get so busy listening to who others say that we are and how we are defined that we accept it as truth.
How hard would it be for us to take back the pen?
I am writing my own definition of who I am and also who I choose not to be. High on my list is that I am a Jesus follower and a wife that loves her husband with all of me. Somewhere in there is that I love to write for me even if no one else reads it!
What matters is that I hold the pen. I get to decide what I allow my defining moments to be. I choose not to be the sum of my failures.
As for the “celebrity” on my street, perhaps I will meet her someday. Until then, I choose not to define her as a celebrity or a police officer but rather just to think of her as a person that lives on my road. It is not my job to define her.
With that in mind, the next time that you introduce yourself to someone think about the “label” or “definition” that you supply. In that moment, that is who you become to them.
Who do you say that you are?
Until Next Time,