Comfortable in your skin?

Published 5:11 pm Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Last week I said that I did not think too much about a man who no longer wanted to be a man. In fact he said that he had always “self-identified” as a female.

This week there is the story of a woman in Spokane who was born to European, that is “white” parents, but she had always “self-identified” as “black.” In fact, she was so successful at claiming her blackness, she became the leader of the Spokane NAACP chapter.

That’s okay with me. The NAACP chapter of Spokane has the right to elect whoever they want. I’m sure they don’t really appreciate all the “hoopla,” but, still, it’s their chapter.

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What is interesting to me about both situations is the desire of the two people to be something else. Actually, many people have wanted to be someone else or something else, but might not have taken it to the extremes as these two.

Here’s a good question. Are you comfortable in your skin? You’ve probably heard that phrase, “comfortable in your own skin,” before.

I’ve had moments in my life when I dreamed of being someone else but I think that is different than actually fashioning my entire life around such a dream and living it for the rest of my life. For instance when I was younger I would “self-identify” as a major league baseball player. That was really a dream because I didn’t even have anyone with whom to play pitch! I would take a rubber ball and throw it up against a chimney and it would bounce back to me in different ways.

I would field all grounders, catch all pop-ups, and throw strike after strike at that chimney for hours. I would also dream that a scout from the Yankees would just happen to drive down that dusty dirt road where I lived and see me and sign me. How weird was that?

I was careful, though, not to tell anyone at school that I had signed a contract with the New York Yankees.

When working in the fields as a boy, my mind would wander and I would dream or “self-identify” that I was a singer. And not just any old singer. I would win Grammy awards and practice my acceptance speech. A mind is a terrible thing to waste, especially during menial labor on hot afternoons.

I recall a line from a song called “That’s Life.” Frank Sinatra sang it and there is this line: “I’ve been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn and a king.”

I probably have thought of myself as all of those somewhere along the line. The key is, though, I sort of know who I was and from where I came. And I was comfortable in my own skin. Still am.

I realize that’s a blessing. When I was dreaming of big league baseball or Nashville or Hollywood, I was pretty glad to have the parents I had and live on the farm where I really lived. Most people probably feel the same.

Another singer, Bruce Springsteen, said it this way, “It’s a sad man my friend who’s livin’ in his own skin and can’t stand the company.”

Thank you, Lord, for the skin I have and for the ones who have helped make it comfortable. And speaking of those who have helped, “Happy Father’s Day,” Daddy.