During my senior year of college, I worked nights performing backups on a Wang computer system. It was the first time in my life that I was given a Log On ID that required me to supply a password. Hey, this could be fun.
I had always been intrigued by Clint Eastwood’s Spaghetti Western character, “the man with no name,” and I thought that one of Eastwood’s movie titles captured his character’s cool mystique—High Plains Drifter. So, I chose the password, “drifter.”
There was irony in my choice. I had no idea how well that label fit me.
I wasn’t a quiet, cool, steely-eyed gunslinger. I was an unsure young man who didn’t know my own identity. In that sense, I really was the man with no name. And because I didn’t know who I was, I would soon start my life in the world as a drifter.
Riding my trusty, directionless horse, Mosey, I just floated along with the flow of the river. Headed nowhere in particular, I ended up here and there–wherever the currents took me.
As the years passed, the thought of being a drifter began to haunt me. No longer was the drifter a romantic image of the cool, mysterious stranger. Instead, It had become a disturbing symbol of my own aimlessness.
So, when I watched the movie Count of Monte Cristo in 2002, one scene really bothered me. Luigi Vampa and his band of thieves find Dantes washed up on the shore after his harrowing escape from prison. Luigi gives Dantes the name “Zatara,” When he explains, “It means, “Driftwood,” Luigi and all his companions have a laugh at Dantes’ expense…
The enemy taunted me through that scene. “That’s your name–Zatara.”
I even mocked myself by mixing movie metaphors: “I’m High Plains Driftwood.”
I was tired of drifting. I wanted to tie ol’ Mosey to the nearest hitching post, and find a horse I could ride with purpose to my appointed destination. But God knew that I would never find my aim until first I knew my name. So, He set me on a painful path that lead me to a healing discovery of who I am in Christ..
When Jesus appeared on this earth, many were confused about who He was. But Jesus was sure of His own identity, and clear about His mission. He came to restore our lost identities. He came to give each of us our name, so that what we do in life flows from who we are in Him.
I’m still in God’s process, and I’m still His work in progress, but I’m no longer adrift on random currents. Now that I know who I am, I’m starting to get into the flow of what God is doing, and I’m beginning to move in His direction.
Since I don’t go by the name “drifter” anymore, I put Mosey up for sale. I wouldn’t recommend buying her–unless you don’t much care where you’re going. 🙂