That idea became important to me in my high school years. I wasn't always sure of what I believed and was even less sure of what that meant for my identity. I struggled in school to be the person of faith that I thought I was. In fact my social identity often clashed with my spiritual identity at school. This of course had to do with that deep internal need to fit in that I talked about earlier. But on Sunday nights and Wednesday nights I found a place where both identities were strengthened.
Once we started driving Joe and I were able to go to Pittsburg and hang out with the youth group at the Pittsburg church of Christ.
During this time I made some great friendships. And I learned some great lessons. I found another kindred spirit in Brandon Lalli, the preacher's son. It was nice to have someone who understood. We didn't even have to have serious discussions. It was just enough to know that there was someone else who felt the pressure of being a minister's son. He and I are friends still and I'm still learning lessons from him. (He's a great father.)
Another great friend was Jason Dockery. Dock was everything I wasn't. He was tall. He was an athlete. He was quiet natured. We clicked immediately. With Dock it was easy to be me. He didn't judge and was easy to talk with. I spent a lot of time at his house in my late high school years. In many ways there's a part of me still trying to be like my friend.
The youth group was great there and gave me some life long friends. But there were some people who provided even more. I'll forever be thankful for the lessons that learned from Monte and Lori Lalli. Its pretty cool that these awesome sponsors have come full circle in my life. I'm honored to be their daughter's major advisor and professor.
I could go on and on about those great people. Sara Clothier, the older girl that I think every guy had a crush on, protected me from myself, especially during my first year of college. Amanda (Souther) Haskew a good friend who has given her life to serving God in Vienna, Austria. Doug Lalli, the cool older brother that you couldn't help but want to be like. Shari Fouts, the cute girl that I didn't get the courage to ask out until the summer after my freshman year of college.
Identity. It's a complicated thing. It is multifaceted. It is fluid. It is still developing. My identity was shaped by a lot of major players, but there were also some great people who were very important for a very specific time and my friends from Pittsburg played an important role in me becoming who I am today. Identity. Who was I? Who am I? That's what I've been figuring out for the past 20 years. I hope you are figuring it out too.