Who Am I?

Who Am I? February 16, 2006

A prayer of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, written in prison and published in his book Letters and Papers from Prison:

Am I then really all 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, trembling with anger at despotisms and petty humiliation, 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 today, and tomorrow another? Am I both at once? A hypocrite before others, and before myself a contemptibly woebegone weakling? Or is something within me still like a beaten army, fleeing in disorder from victory already achieved? Who am I? They mock me, these lonely questions of mine. Whoever I am, thou knowest, O God, I am thine.

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  • JessLynd

    Lewis says that the question isn’t really “Who am I?” but “Whose am I?”