by Ken Rolheiser
Finding the missing you

I was struck by an RVing commercial on Facebook recently. It spoke of several persons inside you. The conclusion was, whoever you are, find it and go RVing today.

According to the commercial, there is first of all the you who takes it slowly, showing a figure relaxing in a meadow. Then there is the you who takes the leap, high-diving off a rocky cliff. Then there is the you who goes further, showing a running figure on the plain. Then there is the you at your core, the missing you, who is walking on a hilly road.

There is good sense in the message of the commercial: whoever you are, find it. Find the missing you, then you can go on with life, which may include RVing today. The spiritual implications to finding the missing you go much deeper.

There is a simple way of analyzing self. According to award-winning news anchor Jeff Stahl there are three persons that make up you. There is the person you think you are – the Internal You; there is the person that others think you are – the External You, and there is the person that you really are – the Real You.

There are confusions that enter into these definitions. The person you put out for the world to see should be the person you really are. Is this the person you really think you are? What mask are you wearing to view the world today?

Perhaps breaking this down into three parts can give us a clear view of ourselves. 1.The External You is the you the world sees. If this you is good, the world considers you to be good. If bad, then the world considers you to be bad. This you is created by your interaction with events around you. You build it as a shield in part to protect you from the world. This you is the mask you wear throughout your life.

2.The Internal You is the you visited in solitude; a timid, passive self, known only to you and no one else. This you struggles with the bad intentions behind your good deeds, and the good intentions behind your bad deeds. This you may lack confidence and experience self doubt. Facing the world is often difficult. Sometimes this you takes shelter behind the external you because it fears misunderstanding and rejection.

3.The Real You, as understood in a spiritual sense, is the eternal part within us that existed before birth and will continue after we die. This you is the you that is infused by the Holy Spirit. The experience of this you brings peace to the restless human soul and leads to enlightenment.

To understand these manifestations of you let us look at a concrete example. In the action of going to Sunday worship the external you is observed by others as being pious, sincere and devout. The internal you follows with the sincere intentions of offering sacrifice and worship. An offering is made of treasure, time and talent for each week. Even when we fail to be particularly devout at Sunday worship, the external actions present us well.

The Real You in Sunday Worship depends on a communion with God who will bless our efforts and infuse us with the Holy Spirit to bring peace and enlightenment to our worship efforts.

(559 words)