Identity is Destiny Pt. 1

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“Identity is Destiny” is one of my favorite sayings. I like it more as I grow older and realize with ever-increasing intensity how much I control, and can not control. I have come to understand that the more comfortable I become in that tension, the more meaningful my life becomes. By extension, the more meaningful my life becomes, the more influence I can exert on others.

I’ve been reflecting on Father’s Day for a few weeks now. I used to hate Father’s Day. For years, I went out of my way to spend it by myself, reeling from the pain of fatherlessness for as far back as I could remember.

Now, though, I have established my own family, and Father’s Day is perhaps my favorite day of the year.

As I examine it, I realize more and more fully that this transformation has everything to do with embracing my identity to shape my destiny, and that of my family, with intent and confidence. Though it is ever difficult, I am first–a fatherless son learning to father. I am failing, and succeeding. Ultimately, I am first, but the many who follow will find it far different work because of me.

As I tried to capture that thought, and the notion of somehow growing up husband and dad, not just son and brother, being ultra-responsible and more mature than my years in every arena I’ve ever entered, it came out as a poem I’ve titled “That Man.” The essence of it for me is embracing identity, some of which we create, and some of which we accept.

That Man

I have always been that man
In ways I did not understand
In ways I did not plan
And though I did not intend
I have always been that man

I am that man
In ways I understand
In ways I plan
And I intend
I am that man

I will always be that man
In ways they will understand
In ways they will plan
And they will intend
I will always be that man

While these are nice thoughts, they do not become my identity, my destiny, without…

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