Recently, I have discovered Perry Mason, an old legal drama from the 1950’s. Because it airs in the mornings at 8:00 a.m. on MeTV, it has become a mainstay for my school holiday mornings. (Corny? Yes, but I know a few other teachers at WSCS that enjoy it too. However, I will not incriminate them here.)
This morning’s episode involved a young, wealthy woman who attempted to cover up some bad choices she had made by creating an alternate identity. She had everyone in the community believing this other person, who looked almost identically to herself, was committing her crimes of nuisance. She went to great lengths to convince the public that she was being duped, which included a fake appendectomy scar, colored contact lenses, and even hiring a private detective to interview hundreds of girls with the intent of finding one who looked like her. This smaller matter grew to her being incriminated of an even larger crime. Of course being that THE Perry Mason was on the case, her plot was foiled, the real murderer was convicted, and all was well. MY HERO.
This episode got me thinking about my own identity. When I teach equivalent fractions, I bring my birth certificate to show students. I tell them that a birth certificate is the form of identification that I have to use most often when I am required to show proof of who I am for important matters. I equate it to a “reduced fraction,” the most proper way to refer to a value between zero and one. I remind students that we all have a birth certificate. Then I tell them about all the other names that people call me: Julie, Mom, Mrs. Aldredge, etc. We go further in the lesson as we discuss my nicknames then, of course, all of theirs. And because I teach in Christian school, I am able to use this opportunity to remind them that my most valuable identity is “daughter of The King.” I have found that this training aids greatly as they begin learning that mathematical values have different names.
Having taught and been involved in the same school for over twenty years, a big chunk of my own identity is still tied to that place. I was reminded of that earlier this week during spring break when I visited my former students during the sixth and seventh grade lunch period. I was mauled with hugs and screams to the point that I even fell over. And after many returned to their seats, a chant and drum beat broke out on their tables as I listened to “Mrs. Aldredge,” broken into four beautiful syllables. It was a delightfully unexpected welcome, and it reminded me of that once large chunk of my identity, which is a very small piece of who I am now.
When people speak of me, my hope is that it will be well and with kindness. But the fact is that my identity is in Christ. If I don’t include Him in my daily relationships and conversations, I am missing great opportunity. Who I am married to, who my children are, where I teach, and where I go to church are all connected to my identity. But ultimately, I AM HIS and HE IS MINE, and that is more than enough.
Today, my conviction is this: There should be no mistake that my identity is in Christ. My heart’s desire is that others will come away knowing that truth when they spend time in my presence. My prayer is that you will ponder this question for just a few moments today:
Who are you?