Who Am I?

Dear Readers,
A young man that works for the foundation I volunteer for, read some of my blog posts, and said it reminded him of a poem, written by a Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was in a Nazi concentration camp, and would soon be hanged.

Green but Buggy! Run! LOL

It speaks to the doubt I often have about a public face and private face, about not knowing who I really am. The confusion of wondering what is my purpose, of being both happy and depressed, of being outwardly smiling and inwardly confused.
I know I am not alone in this suffering.

Now, I have had wonderful things happen in my life, and I am not comparing what this man went through to my problems.
But the poem speaks to the bigger issue of being human, and the feelings and struggles we all have.

Today, I am not suffering.
I am happy in my volunteer place, packing kits with the life-saving drug, Naloxone.
I am happy kissing Mr. UT.
I am happy writing this post.
I am happy giving support to other people.
I am happy at my coffee shop where I love to read and write.
I am happy at my AA meetings,

These stairs are good for my legs!

I am happy walking outside in the park, with green surrounding me.
I am happy at yoga.

Being sober has made life so much easier, calmer, and I have gained peace.
Peace to know nothing is forever, feelings come and go, helping other people feeds my soul, and I am okay.

It’s a beautiful poem.

Who Am I?
“Who am I?  They often tell me
I stepped from my cell’s confinement
Calmly, cheerfully, firmly,
Like a Squire from his country house.

Who am I? They often tell me
I used to speak to my warders 
freely and friendly and clearly,
as through it were mine to command.

Who am I? They also tell me
I bore the days of misfortune
equably, smilingly, proudly,
like one accustomed to win.

Am I then really that which other men tell of?
Or am I only what I myself know of myself?
Restless and longing and sick, like a bird in a cage,
Struggling for breath, as though hands were compressing
My throat, yearning for colors, for flowers, for the voices of birds,
thirsting for words of kindness, for neighborliness,
tossing in expectation of great events,
powerlessly trembling for friends at an infinite distance,
weary and empty at praying, at thinking, at making,
faint, and ready to say farewell to it all.

Who am I? This or the Other?
Am I one person to-day and to-morrow another?
Am I both at once? A hypocrite before others,
And before myself a contemptible woebegone weakling?
Or is something within me like a beaten army
Fleeing in disorder from victory already achieved?

Who am I? They mock me, these lonely question of mine,

Whoever I am, Thou Knows, O God, I am thine.”

Below are two sites that give more information about his life and the meaning of the poem.


With Love,
On Day 1,030,


20 thoughts on “Who Am I?

  1. I have heard of D. Bonhoeffer but know little of him or his life. This poem speaks so much of what I feel in this life. Beautiful. Thank you for this and the links! I also think the poem preceding his beginning with \”Today, I am not suffering\” is pretty awesome as well! Thank you. ❤


  2. Dear Wendy,Beautiful post. 🙂 Thank you.My mother, who was diagnosed with cancer three times in her life and did not survive the last time had learnt this beautiful art of being, she said: I am sad and sometimes desperate about my health but next to that I can also be happy about what I do have. The one does not rule out the other. I loved that and try to apply it to my own life. Society today sort of makes us feel like we have to choose the one or the other, that is not so. Both the feelings of sadness and happiness, joy/connection and depression can exist simultaneously. I think. Well, for me this concept works and feels more logical than having to choose. :-)xx, Feeling


  3. The young man was wise, how thoughtful of him to see you in another's words. The poem by Dietrich Bonhoeffer is beautiful, but so is yours. Thank you for sharing. xoxo, ll


  4. What a brilliant post.I used to worry that I was unsure of things about myself. Now I realise, for me, it's a strength to keep questioning and wondering like this at time.This is a super post – and your friend is a really really astute person. I hope he finds a vocation where he can readily apply that to helping people.


  5. I know! I was astounded at this. I will tell him today. He is in the University now, but I think he is going into business. But he is a very kind person.And yes! It is a strength. In fact I just read a short article about how to embrace your weaknesses and make them your strengths. Hmm. I have to think about that one!Thank you, Graham!xo


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