Who are you suppose to be?
"WHO ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO BE!"....That's what he said to me. After a good 2 and a half minutes of being angrily gazed upon, I felt a comment coming on...I didn't expect it to be so forwardly blunt and aggressive, but I felt it coming none-the-less. At first I wondered if I knew this gentleman. It was unlikely as I was I was away from my home on the West Coast traveling through the great state of Texas. And although I do have some of the best friends ever in Texas (especially this particular town, Wichita Falls, home of the worlds wittiest follow up comment line writer, Tim Hoke.), I still know who I know....and this guy, I did not know. He can be described as blue-collar looking elder gentlemen in his mid 70's. His hard lined facial features where bordered by his impressively forward leaning hairline. His friend, or drinking partner as it may be, wore a pair of seemingly new overalls. The kind I was well familiar with having been raised in Little Rock Arkansas.
I mention being raised in the South for a specific reason here. I want you to understand that this "confrontation" was not due to me walking into this establishment with a preconceived notion of being a victim of prejudice....or as those of us who have experienced such moments "Southern Hospitality".
No no, I know the people of the Southern states can be really kind as well...and as my general rule of thumb goes, I wake up every day (regardless of geological locale) with a belief that people are kind...and if not, there must be something happening in their lives that has been hurtful to them, and they need a bit of mercy and grace from me.
That being said, "WHO ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO BE" is a big, bold question to be faced with.
It stopped me in my tracks (actually, I was already at a physical halt due to the slow moving line at the Starbucks on Kemp). Why was this such a "moment" for me? I have faced way more aggression than this in my life. What was so special about this moment...? It was one of those moments that I knew "God" (Yes I said God....I happen to not only believe in Him, I also believe He speaks to me at times...take it in...cuz that's who your dealing with here.....ready to move forward?...k, here goes) "is trying to say something to me".
It was as if I was having one of those "my life flashed before my eyes" moments...right there in the Starbucks line.
There were a few times in my life that I could boldly answer his question (and yes, I do realize he was making it more of a statement than he was asking me a question, but I could get back to him later.....I had a mental journey to go on. Heck, I had time, this line was going nowhere with all the coffee snobs placing their custom orders).
My mind flashed to the first time I could answer his question with bold confidence....5 years old.
At that point, there was no doubt in my mind that I was to be a Super Hero. I guess I was not much different from most boys. I had the Hero underroos just like every other guy at that age.
I remember wanting sooo bad to discover that I had a secret mutant ability. I would dream of it, imagine it, and pray for it......but nay. I even had the thought; perhaps if I get an insect bite of some sort...and pour some of the rubbing alcohol onto the site, I would start mutating into a heroic, half man, and half insect version of said thing.
Even though I was confident that I was a hero, as it would turnout over time, I never formed a special power....even though I even prayed. I guess my "faith" demand, didn't pursued God's big picture plan for that little boy.
Then came the ET Fresh portion of my life. This happened to me at 14. Who is ET Fresh you ask? Only one of the most talented freestyle rappers to emerge from the parking lot lunch time battles of Mabelvale Jr. High School.
Looking back, I realized that this was such an important part of my development. Until this new "identity crises", I was a very shy, bullied, introverted kid. But something inside me came alive the first time I heard groups like Run DMC, the Fat Boys and KRS One..... It was like my spirit came alive and with every bass drum indicator spit out from the Human Beat Box' mouth, I started to form a new dream.. ET Fresh was born.
Had you asked me at that time "WHO ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO BE??” I would have boldly declared "ET Fresh". I just knew that was not only my present, but my future as well.
Hmmmmm......as I look into the computer screen and allow my eyes to blur past what is happening on the screen, I see the reflection of an aging face...and this face never maintained the identity "ET Fresh". As a matter of fact, had I succeeded at become known as him, it would actually be a bit embarrassing to still be called this name....No offense meant Young MC (too soon, sorry).
As I look back at this season, I am confident that my course was never meant to stay "ET Fresh", but Elijah Tindall would surely need the lessons learned on that parking lot. Elijah needed to come out of his shell and become comfortable with performing in front of people.....being insulted in public...being put down, growing thick skin and an awareness of surroundings to pull topical whit and commentary from.
No, I never became ET Fresh, but had you asked me at that time, WHO ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO BE, my answer would've been him.
I have other seasons too, "Sky Walker" the afternoon drive DJ on "Your #1 hit music station, KKYK" in the early 90's. "Pastor Elijah", the up and coming new youth pastor, who seemingly new it all....and would readily offer up advice on how to successfully raise teenagers.....even though he had NO teenagers of his own. (I have often said, If I could go back in time, I would go to one of those moments and walk into my old office, smack myself in the face and say "You SHUT UP!...Go get a grandparent in here and everyone sit down and pay attention to what they have to say".) .
But had you asked me then "WHO ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO BE"..My answer would've been "Pastor Elijah".. Although, that season was very important to my development as a bigger person..and I really did have good motives, I was yet to "be" something else...someone else.
And though I am in a different place of perspective at this time in my life, I can once again, or should I say, for the first time, answer, with confidence. The question "WHO ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO BE?"
And that answer is, I. Don't. Know!
Not only am I confident about this answer, I am excited about it. I have come to the place in my life where I can stand back, be comfortable with not knowing all the answers and even letting others know, "I'm not really sure".
Not that I am giving up on striving to become a person who makes a positive impact on this earth before I leave. I am now just way more secure in knowing that I am nothing more than a little child at times, demanding the ability to fly, while God has a different plan......and overtime, I will grow into it.
So as for now, my career title is "Comedian/Motivational Speaker, Elijah Tindall", for all I know, there could be a shift soon and the ET Fresh in me will get all excited to have another chance. I am up for anything, because I finally know that I don't know!
I will continue to work on my personal health in all areas....Spirit, Mind, Body...., Write jokes, tell stories, help people find hope in their hard seasons, love on my family, and one day down the road, die a full person.....and on that day, I will answer with confidence, for the last time "THAT is who I am supposed to be!......now someone mentioned something about mansions and gold streets : )"