Ontology

May 10, 2009 at 8:54 am 2 comments

As my second maternity leave draws to a close, I’ve been thinking alot about those questions of who we are, and how we know who we are.

Just the other day (months ago!) I attended a service for the renewal of ordination vows. It felt especially important to go this year. My ordination was an ontological shift- in that moment I became “a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek” But there are also sacramental actions that enact priesthood; Performative acts of preaching and blessing that both mark me and make me a priest of Word and Sacrament. In the simplest terms, it is hard to be a priest without an altar, and a pulpit.

Are we who we are? or are we what we do?

(Was I absolutely ready to embrace Dollhouse? Oh yes!)

Today I am celebrating my profound joy in being the Mommy to two amazing, incredible, delightful, frustrating, crazy-making, perplexing children. I became a mom at 7:30 on a Wednesday morning (twice!), making a fundamental and permanent shift in my identity. Diapers, feedings, cuddles, nightime, teaching, comforting… those (rare?) midnight crises- these are the performative acts of motherhood that make it ridiculous to say that adoptive parents are anything other than “real”. But also “real” is the mom who has lost a child- who no longer performs those parenting acts- or whose performative acts of parenthood are rituals of grief.

Are we who we are, or are we what we do?

It often seems, in North American culture, that there is this sense that “I am what I am” is a copout, that we all have the capacity (and therefore the obligation) to become anything we want to become, by the expedient of pretending that we already are.

This is who I am. And I have no interest in pretending to be someone or something else in the name of self-improvement. I don’t want to “fake it ’til I make it”. But I also want to keep growing and changing and learning and challenging.

I am. And I have been. And I will be.
Human being and becoming.

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on Produce Quick Hit – Summer then and now.

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Elizabeth Twist  |  May 10, 2009 at 9:30 pm

    The series of links you’ve posted in your third-last paragraph is brilliant. Especially in light of the last one. Well done, and hilarious. *Leaves to brush up on the finer points of world domination.*

  • 2. living400lbs  |  May 10, 2009 at 10:34 pm

    Elizabeth, thanks for pointing out the links – wonderful!

    And yes, so is the rest of the post 🙂

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