In the course of the past four days, I have repeatedly answered the question; “what is your background”. The question was a natural one given the context. In each encounter, I was meeting someone for the first time. They did not know my mandate. They had not been briefed. The background that defines me was whatever I described.
As the meeting came and went, I found myself wondering what was important. Did my stories matter? Given the thirty plus years of work experience, what was relevant? Do they want to know everything or simply the important pieces? Even as I board a plane for a new city, I wonder if I could have provided better answers to their questions.
I find myself looking at how others have answered the same question. In some cases, I know the background so the answers have a fact based context. In other situation, the response alone provides the context. An example occurred in one author’s retelling of Paul’s introduction to a group of leaders. “From Miletus he sent to Ephesus for the leaders of the congregation. When they arrived, he said, ‘You know that from day one of my arrival in Asia I was with you totally—laying my life on the line, serving the Master no matter what, putting up with no end of scheming by Jews who wanted to do me in.’” (Acts 20.17, 18)
In Paul’s words, I find myself painting of picture of his story. Even as I do this, I wonder what story was painted this week from my words. Did my intent come through? Do others understand my mission? Are we working together or is this the beginning of a long battle?
I hope I catch a glimpse of my story. It is helpful to know what others perceive. I am willing to struggle with the reality of my words and actions. Yet, I also know that there will be gaps. I understand there will be more work and that the story continues. I am still writing the definition of “who” and “what” I am.