Saturday, 14 April 2018


Quote: it feels so good to on and off ask the question: who am I 
(Hans VRo)

I am traveling in France at the moment, the almost magically beautiful region of the Loire valley and we are staying at the moment in a very old castle, one that was built in 1520. Small and winding corridors, worn out marble floors, wooden stairs that crack under you feet and paintings on the wall by famous artists.

Before it was sold to the current owner who uses it now as a hotel, it was mainly used for retreat. I remember a retreat when I was in secondary school (highschool). Our whole class was brought to abbey in the center of the city. Behind the outer walls of the abbey lay, wonderful gardens, large with old trees and amazing flowers. We got a small introduction by an inspiring leader and then we were asked to "retreat". Each of us got a room and we had to spend time alone to think about the question:
Who am I?!?

I took the exercise quite serious. It was before the time that everyone carried a smart phone and being alone in that silent room, looking out on these superb gardens felt a bit awkward at first. But then I started to try and answer the question: who am I?

The first thing that came to mind: I am Hans (my name). But then if people would change my name, or if my mom called me a sweet name, it would not really change the me, that I am. On top of that there are so many people called the same name and they are all very different from me.

So, the question, who am I, which on the surface seemed easy, was actually an extremely difficult one. Next I thought about my family ties, that somehow I felt defined me. I am the son of Romain and Mariette, the brother of Mieke. And even if that was quite unique and much more of an identifier then my name, There could have been easily more sons of my parents, that would have created more brothers for Mieke too. Whatever other ties, I had, to school, to friends, to whatever I did, nothing really made me uniquely who I am.

I thought of being my very unique body, but then again if people got amputations, their body is less, but they are still the same being. After quite some thoughts, I came to the conclusion that the values and principles I adhered to, were somehow making up my personality, my character and that that was quite close to who I really was.

And then what makes up my character and personality?
I will write soon a small reflection on that.

(PS: almost three years ago, I wrote a small piece on a similar topic: it was titled, who am I. Can click here  to see it)

Note: this blog is not copyrighted. You can freely use the quote or share the essay. If you do so, please include author at the end (Hans VRo)

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