Who Am I?

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Who am I? They often tell me
I would step from my cell’s confinement
calmly, cheerfully, firmly,
Like a squire from his country-house.

Who am I? They often tell me
I would talk to my warders
freely and friendly and clearly,
as though it were mine to command.

Who am I? They also tell me
I would bear the days of misfortune
equably, smilingly, proudly,
Like one accustomed to win.

Am I then really all that which other men tell of?
Or am I only what I know of myself,
restless and longing and sick, like a bird in a cage,
struggling for breath, as though hands were compressing my throat,
hungry for colours, for flowers, for the voices of birds,
thirsty for words of kindness, for neighbourliness,
trembling with anger at despotisms and pretty humiliation,
caught up in expectation of great events,
powerlessly grieving for friends at an infinite distance,
weary and empty at praying, at thinking, at making,
faint, and ready to lay farewell to it all?

Who am I? This or the other?
Am I one person today, and tomorrow another?
Am I both at once? A hypocrite before others,
and before myself a contemptibly woebegone weakling?
Or is something within me still like a beaten army,
fleeing in disorder from victory already achieved?

Who am I? They mock me, these lonely questions of mine.
Whoever I am, thou knowest, O God, I am thine.

—-
Dietrich Bonhoeffer from his cell in Berlin as the last days of his life and the last days of World War II ran out together.
As quoted in The Call by Os Guinness, p25.

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About TJ

In 2015 my family moved from a small village in mid-Michigan to five beautifully forested acres in Northern Michigan. We love the lakes and rivers, the forests, and the billions of stars we can see in the night sky, as well as the many cultural and historical activities in our area. We also love that the deer and wild turkeys come right up to our house. This is where our hearts are! I have multiple cats (five the last time I counted), and a sweet introverted dog who rarely barks and who deeply loves the six adorable ducks and nine chickens that have become part of our family. I enjoy reading, studying, writing, and learning new things. I also enjoy walking my dog, cuddling my cats, and gardening. I love nature. The world fascinates me.

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