I am still coming to grips with who I Am. After five decades of playing the role of Steve McAllister, I’m still trying to understand my character’s motivation and what he’s really striving for. Yet I’m also not completely convinced that I’m actually Steve McAllister either.
Steve McAllister came into existence on August 4, 1971 as the second child of Craig and Laurie McAllister. Although they toyed with the notion of calling him “Sean”, something told them that the person they were bringing into the world would more greatly benefit from a name like “Steve” for the particular journey he would be traversing. So they printed it on the birth certificate as “Steven Robert McAllister” (the middle name a nod to Laurie’s father), and the government created a corporation to represent the new citizen called STEVEN ROBERT MCALLISTER.
However, that’s not actually the beginning of my story. That’s just the beginning of the character I’m currently playing and the corporation I was given control of for the time being. Nevertheless, just like everybody else, I am actually eternal, and the beginning of my story happens over and over again in every moment I experience.
Even the mass of bone and flesh that many would consider to be Steve McAllister isn’t the infant that was born back in ’71. Twelve days before Richard Nixon removed the dollar from the gold standard, a 7 pound 11 ounce newborn was named Steve. And just like money isn’t what it used to be, now, the person people refer to as Steve has accumulated another 150 pounds (or so) of substance, and there’s no real way to know how much of that 7 pounds and 11 ounces of original material even remains.
The entity known as Steve McAllister is comprised of about 70% (or so) of water and 30% of other bits that will fairly quickly deteriorate and become soil when that water ceases to flow. The water that identifies as Steve today is different than the water that was there when he made his planetary debut, and even different from the water that was there just last week. He’s drunk a lot of fluids since then, peed a lot of them out, and because he primarily lives in Florida, a good many drops of that moisture escaped as sweat and headed to the beach.
That water currently identifying as Steve has been on this planet for a pretty long while, and it has identified as a lot of different characters along the way. There have been times that the water has identified as other humans throughout history, sometimes it has come to find itself in other species as well, and sometimes it has just flowed through the endless cycle as a river, a cloud, an ocean, or a raindrop. Needless to say, it’s been a pretty wild ride.
While I don’t necessarily identify as the water, since it is seemingly a merely physical component, it does serve as a reflective surface, prism, and carrier of information. Everything that Steve has experienced over the last five decades has created a ripple in that water, and that water was already rippling with experiences it had on its journey to become what currently identifies as Steve. Although water is transparent to our naked eyes, its ripples are composed of emotions, thoughts, matter, and yes, the very spirit of life.
In my experience of negotiating Steve through all of these years, and as I have traversed the ripples created by the generations before, I have engaged in many activities. In some cases, I reacted to the ripples immediately, sometimes well and sometimes poorly. Many times, I responded to the ripples with more finesse, sometimes well and sometimes poorly. And sometimes, I have created the ripples, and again, sometimes well and sometimes poorly.
Yet as poorly as I may respond to and create ripples in this perspective of life that I am given, the ripples just keep on coming, giving me the chance to get better and better at riding the waves, or giving me more and more chances to get overcome by them. Fortunately, I have seen the glimmers of wisdom, peace, love, and light that have shown through these ripples, and even though sometimes those moments are more not than often, I have found that life is most joyous when I am able to forgive the turbulence and go with the flow. As a matter of fact, the times I have brought forgiveness have always provided the most joy.
One thing I can say about my experience playing the role of Steve McAllister is that he is a really interesting character with many nuances, both subtle and ridiculous. But as I have ridden the waves created by western civilization, and even felt the effects from the east, I have noticed a pattern among the waves and ripples as those glimmers of wisdom, peace, love, and light sparkle along the top of life’s waters. Regardless of the spiritual tradition, in seeking to embrace the most engagement from what life has to offer, realizing who we all really are beyond the egos and water droplets we identify with means recognizing your role as an emissary of All That Is and accepting that role with the faith, grace, and hope that Steve first heard about through the message of Christ.
As an individual with a lot of dark ripples, it’s often challenging to identify with that spirit of Christ. And our man-made institutions of religion and government have also often completely missed the mark, even though the directions were highlighted in red letters. Yet beyond the cacophony of the battle of good versus evil and the dramas we play out to keep us from reality, I find that bringing forgiveness to all of the turbulence that is the flow of life brings us to the truth I Am That I Am.