Parker J. Palmer (2000) states, “Vocation does not come from willfulness. It comes from listening. I must listen to my life and try to understand what it is truly about-quite apart from what I would like it to be about- or my life will never represent anything real in the world, no matter how earnest my intentions.” (p. 4).
Legally, I am Matthew Lee Cape. I am a Kentucky resident and United States of America citizen. I am the son of two young people, and a grandson from a small southern city in Kentucky. Legally, that is who I am. Systematically, I am a young man belittled by the system of being an orphan, a young man who should not have access to higher education, and a young man who has so many mixed emotions about things that just seems to be a face in the faceless. However, I define me! I will not let the system or anyone define who I am unless I feel that the adjectives and information described is me.
I am Matthew Lee Cape—a son with great promise. I am Matthew Lee Cape—a mind of determination. I am Matthew Lee Cape—a fighter for equal rights. I am Matthew Lee Cape—a Christian who understands, “God has made of one blood, all peoples of the Earth (Acts 17:26).” I am Matthew Lee Cape—a person who understands the importance of cooperation and teamwork. I am Matthew Lee Cape—a registered Republican with a full Democratic heart. I am Matthew Lee Cape—lover not a fighter. I am…me.
As corny as it may be, I find myself reflecting upon who I am and I what I am to others—a friend, a colleague, a caring soul, a willing helper, a romantic, a movie then cuddle type person—maybe just a bit too far but you get the picture.
I do agree with Palmer about how one can feel vocation. I agree so much with the following quote, “Some journeys are direct, and some are circuitous; some are heroic, and some are fearful and muddled. But every journey, honestly undertaken, stands a chance of taking us toward the place where our deep gladness meets the world’s deep need (36)”. I think that it is my nature to be the caring person who wants to help people in any way—and even give people the shirt off my back if needed! I am a giver, fighter, and person who wants people to be treated fairly and equally. These characteristics are my nature.
When I see someone getting upset or mistreated, I do everything in my power—without being asked—to accommodate that person’s needs because they need the same privileges that I am entitled to! Sadly, I also understand that it is like to be on the end in which you are being denied your rights, or worse, being considered an outcast. The society in which we live determines who we act and I refuse to act like the self-centered and psychopathic society in which we live. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said it best: A man who does not have something for which he is willing to die is not fit to live. Dr. King and Palmer share the commonality of being pastors and scholars of self-reflection. Dr. King wanted people to reflect on their inner selves with the aforementioned quote and Palmer asks me—who are you? I’ve discussed who I am legally, I’ve discussed what my nature is and I can say with great confidence that I am willing to die in the fight for equality and justice for all. I am willing to be a voice to the voiceless and willing to share in the oppressions if it means that freedoms can be given to all. It’s odd thinking about who I am yet I think the following poem written by Glee star, Blake Jenner, expressions who I am:
I am the guy who will persist in his path
I am the guy who will make you laugh
I am the guy who strives to be open
I am the guy who’s been heartbroken
I am the guy who’s been on his own
I am the guy who’s felt alone
I am the guy who holds your hand
I am the guy who will stand up and be a man
I am the guy who tries to make things better
I am the guy who’s the whitest half-Cuban, ever
I am the guy who’s lost more than he’s won
I am the guy who’s turned, but never spun
I am the guy you couldn’t see
I am that guy, and that guy’s me.
Almost to a “T,” this poem describes me: I am and no one can take that away from! That’s who I feel I am and that’s how I feel that I can grow and mature in my thinking with this train of thought through this term as I prepare for the “real world.”
Palmer, P.J. (2000). Let your life speak: Listening for the voice of vocation. Jossey-Bass: San Francisco.