mistaken identity

A while back I decided I’d ask the Lexington Herald Leader about the possibility of being a writer for their Faith and Values section.  I explained a wife.mother.ministry-wife might be able to lend a point of view they were lacking.  They kindly told me they actually like the man who is currently their main writer [he’s not so good in my opinion and doesn’t even live in Lexington].  They did suggest I become a contributor to their “Question(s) of Faith”, which they print numerous times during the year.  The QofF writers are faith leaders in our community.  Many are well known pastors.  At least one is a priest.  I am neither [I’m sure that comes as a surprise], but my original contact at the HL began listing me as Wife of Vineyard Community Church Associate Pastor, or something like that. At that time, my husband actually was on staff at VCC.  I really didn’t care so much as to what they labeled me, as I was just happy to be able to say I had something I wrote printed in the paper.    My husband eventually switched jobs and I no longer was a minister’s wife.  I let the HL know and they began simply listing my name, no title.  

At least they didn’t list a title until this most recent edition of the QofF:
Central Kentucky faith leaders share resolutions for 2013

For whatever reason, they once again listed me as the wife of a VCC pastor.

Funny.  I haven’t been in over a year.  And it really isn’t that big of a deal.  Except newspapers are supposed to print accurate information.

I get what the newspaper is doing.  They want to quote folks who play some sort of role.  They want credible people writing for them.  Or at least they want someone with a title which deems enough credentials to pass as a reliable source.

We seem to want people to be what we want them to be or who we want them to be.  I’ve written this before.  I’m often reading of fictional characters who are living this.  People see them as one person; they see themselves as another. I’m guessing the reason for this in fiction writing is that it mirrors reality.

It’s interesting to me that we often assume  people are in their particular job or role because it suits them or they have always aspired to the position.  I, for instance, did not plan as a child or teenager to be in an administrative job.  I saw myself as a teacher or in some sort of artistic role.  I never had the thought, “Gee, it would be great to wear navy blue and be a business woman someday.”  I never thought, “How wonderful to be in charge of answering the phone.”  In fact, just a few nights ago one of my kids asked, “Mom, why weren’t you an English teacher?”  Then my son reasoned, “Because you wouldn’t know how to handle it when one of the kids stood up, said F-you and walked out of the classroom.”  Okay…..maybe that’s one reason, and apparently he’s witnessed this type of behavior at his high school.  Disciplining kids has never been my strong suit.  But, I do often wonder why I didn’t become an English teacher or a librarian or a radio disc jockey.

We all have an agenda.  We do what we do for a reason.  Whether it’s our job, our role as a parent or spouse, why we go to the gym.  And we don’t all do the same thing for the same reason.  Some of us work so our kids can go to college.  Some of us work because we absolutely love what we do.  Some of us are somewhere in between.

But sometimes others have an agenda for us too. 

I believe one of my biggest realizations of 2012 is that my agenda, my reasoning, who I conceptualize myself as being, doesn’t always line up with other people’s agendas.  In other words, who I think I am or thought I would become might not be so, because it’s nowhere on the radar for the person calling the shots.  This can end up being a source of disappointment. 

Yes, I know I shouldn’t put my faith in people, but in God.  I know as young people we’re motivated by, “You can be anything you want.”  Yet, we’re identified not necessarily by our abilities or possibilities, but by what’s convenient and how our particular piece fits into the puzzle.  And it’s not just related to our careers and occupations, but also in our positions as family members and roles we play in society at large.

Nobody really wants to be a pawn.  Yet I think that’s what many of us become.  Simply a way to help others accomplish what they want to. If it sounds like I’m angry, I’m not.  Well, actually sometimes I am.  It’s just that really we should call it what it is, not play and pretend.

The truth is, the Lexington Herald Leader doesn’t really care what I’m all about.  They just want 10-12 people to respond to their “Question of Faith”.  They’ve got their plan, their agenda so to speak.  Likewise, others might convince themselves of my interests or abilities to fit their puzzle.  Or they might never consider me at all, depending on the situation. 

We categorize people.  We make people, in our minds at least, what we want them to be.  And sadly, it’s often a case of mistaken identity.

I’m hoping in 2013 to be less assuming of others and not allow myself to be as confined as I’ve been in the past.  That can mean being vulnerable, which is frightening, but also hopeful.  

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