I am reading a biography called “Ghost Boy: The Miraculous Escape of a Misdiagnosed Boy Trapped Inside His Own Body” by Martin Pistorius, who was suddenly hit with a debilitating disease at age 12. Slowly he had slipped into a comatose shell of a person, existing rather than living.
The book begins with him starting to wake up to his world, trapped in a body that will not move, unable to communicate with the world. He had no say in his day-to-day life, effectively viewed by the world as a “thing” to be fed, cleaned, clothes, and moved throughout the day. Not a person, but the ghost of a person who was.
He is initially rescued by a physical therapist who realizes that Martin can understand the world around him, and may have the ability to begin communicating. Through this process, the therapists and family find a way where he can cobble words and phrases together by slight movements of his eyes and hands, which they all work to restore if only a miniscule amount. One of the phrases the they put into the system was, “I am” which stayed with me.
“I am” is such a small phrase, but ever so useful for all of us. “I am” can communicate so many things, emotions, states of being, even professions. I am thirsty. I am tired. I am hungry. I am waiting. I am happy. I am a writer. I am faithful. I am a Christian.
How many other phrases can be so powerful when combined with just the right words, but so weak on their own? Think about it; you never would just say “I am” and leave it at that.
In Exodus, Moses asked Him how he should answer the Israelites when Moses tells them the God of their fathers sent him to free them from slavery, and they ask what His name is.
And God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” ~Exodus 3:14
I am who I am.
No other words. I am. Simple and to the point.
Years later, His son added to it after His disciple Thomas asked how we are to follow Him and know the way if we don’t know where Jesus was going.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. ~ John 14:6.
Jesus was certain in his words. He is the way to a better life, a brighter way of living of serenity. He is the truth; no lies can abound in his presence. He is the life, that spark of peace and faith that helps us through the worst times of our lives and lifts us up ever higher during the good times.
What would follow “I am” in your life? How would you finish that sentence. On most days, I suspect we all have a range of emotions and actions to easily finish it. But what if we were content just to be, without the noise of life complicating ourselves.
How beautiful could it be if we could all just stay in the moment, the bridge between past and future, without constantly worrying about either?
How peaceful would we be if we centered ourselves in today, in our family and friends, and in our love of God?
Two beautiful words are so simple, but can communicate an endless array of possibilities.
What is your I am?