I’ve never been overly-concerned with my identity in the sense that I’ve never really taken people to task for mistaking me for someone else. And believe me, that happens to me quite often.
One of the most amusing episodes happened in the gym.While at the drinking fountain, a lady approached me and said, “I know you, you’re that lawyer. What’s your name now?” I replied, with a sheepish grin, “I’m Atty. (and I gave my name).” Then she replied, “No,you’re not. You’re Atty. Fortun! (the reference is to any of the two Fortun brothers who garnered their share of fame or notoriety, depending on which side you are, because of the impeachment trial of Estrada)” Honestly, I didn’t know how to react to that.
Ironically, I would most often be identified with the younger of the two Fortuns; although people also mistake me for someone else less “notorious.”
On Mother’s day last week, while waiting for my family at Gateway, I heard someone say toward my direction, “Hi Fr. Jboy!” (the reference is to Fr. Jessel Gerard “Jboy” Gonzales, SJ, who, at a young age, is already gaining a reputation for being a very inspired and inspiring homilist; check out his blog here.) He’s a good friend of mine so I turned to see where he was before I realized the lady was in front of me and was greeting ME. We both had a good laugh when she realized I wasn’t him and I realized she mistook me for him!
Only yesterday, after mass, another lady accosted (she came up to me, blocked my path and “forcibly” shook my hand) me and said, “Hi, I know you. You’re Atty. Fortun!” Again, I didn’t know how to react to that.
Mistakes in identity happen. They’re often funny (as in my situations) but they can also have serious consequences--I’ve had many cases involving mistaken identity where people were arrested, tortured, killed or disappeared. Despite the differences in features, personality, look, these mistakes happen and its part of life on earth so we don’t really need to get so strung out on these mistakes.
I rest assured though of One who never mistakes me for anyone else. The One who knows me inside and out, who never fails to pick me out in any crowd, the One I can never fool regardless of what I put on or become, the One who knows my heart and its ways (Ps 139:23) because He has made me fearfully and wonderfully (139:14). My One Lord and Master. Before Him, I need not be anyone else for my identity is secure, my identity is clear, my identity is precious: I am His beloved. He has called me by name and I am his (Isaiah 43:1) and no one on earth can take that away from me.
I thank You, Lord, for giving me this unmistakeable identity as Yours. May I respond in a manner befitting Your call to me.