I got to eat my arrogance for dinner this week. Fell flat on my face (figuratively) in front of a captive audience. Man, humility is a painful lesson. I just want the world to know how awesome I am. Is that so much to ask?
And speaking of under-appreciated awesomeness...
My in-laws recently picked up and moved. In their rush, my sister-in-law donated to my girls a plethora of sewing material and goods. As a good friend put it, it's like Christmas, opening every box. Because...my sister-in-law has ridiculous taste. Amazing. And her creativity and perfection in the tiniest of details is beyond humanity.
It has been an interesting experience, sorting through some 20 years of her crafting life. On the one hand, I think of the years of my niece and nephew growing up. Her daughter was a dancer, and I have learned exactly how much time her mom invested in making dance costume after dance costume. There are things I have found that shocked me. I have found patterns for costumes and clothes I'd always assumed were professionally made. "Oh my goodness...she MADE that?!!"
Of course, in the stage I am in, on the other hand, I think of the exhausting details. I've tried sewing here and there, and I can tell you I've spent a debilitating amount of time working up some garment that is undeniably sub-par. Given the volume of donated materials, I am overwhelmed just imaging the amount of time she spent shopping for all of these goods!
But more awe-inspiring is that this lady...this sister-in-law-of-mine is on par with and/or beyond Chanel, Armani, Versace, Klein, Gucci...any of them. You name it. I do not over-exaggerate (I am aware I have a tendency, but not this time!). The entire world should know this woman's substantial gift!
And then, I think...I think she represents us all, in a way.
We all have these gifts that just brighten the world. I have a knack for communication and empathy. My friend is a natural athlete. We have discussed this...my son is moving art on the baseball field. My husband is faithful and loyal and self-less, and that is to say nothing of the awe that ignites me when he plays his guitar. I could go on...but...
We ALL have these gifts. (You just have to find yours and appreciate it, I promise.) Yet, most of the world will NEVER see the beauty and attach the appropriate value to our undeniable giftedness (and worth).
It reminds me of an orchid blooming, blossoming and dying, unseen, in the deepest part of the Amazon. (Please tell me a spot such as this still exists. I need it, in the depths of my heart.)
Does the orchid have value only if it is seen and appreciated, or does it have value because it is gifted with loveliness, in its own right?
And, while we are on this topic...who's judgment of value matters? Because I can assure you, even your judgment and mine will differ, at times.
Too deep? Maybe I should quit reading The Sea Wolf. It is very dark and, equally deep. But...there is much appreciable beauty in the text.
What I am trying to say is...how do we know our value? Is it by our competence, our intelligence, our strength? Is it by what others think of us? Is it by our monetary value? Our performance? Our quantity of friends?
This week, I failed to show my true gifts. I performed well below my true, peak competence, and I was equal parts disappointed and humiliated. So bad that I CRIED. Like hard. And Matt laughed until I said, it is NOT funny. (In his defense, he was laughing at how deeply I was taking something so insignificant, from his perspective. For the record, he tends to lack my intensely competitive drive.)
What was so devastating about my poor performance? (That I was too proud to admit I had been horribly ill just prior? No excuses, sissy!) Aren't I the PREACHER AND THE CHOIR of mistakes and growth and learning?
|Have we really reached that point with this guy, though? He did not want me to take the picture of him cleaning up our littered creek. I don't think I can take this...|
What was so devastating was my fear of the judgment of others.
Shame on me. Aren't I the one who most loudly condemns the child for losing his courage at the first error on the field? Isn't it me who counters with, "You pick that head up, kid! It happens to the best of 'em!!"
Why, then, can I NOT heed my own advice? Why am I the first, worst and loudest of ALL my critics?
I don't know that I will ever figure that out, completely. But...
Thank God, I live in a house where "in sickness and in health" is taken to the most literal definition of the term...even when I don't give him the same kind of grace. I may face many tough and harrowing circumstances, but...I can never forget the fact that I am privileged to live in a home where I am completely and wholly valued, whether I am shining in my giftedness or wallowing in my wretchedness. And I will take that in exchange for all the trials I will ever face, with a grateful (though not always happy) heart. And no regrets, no matter...
Thank you for reflecting with me, my friends. You are a constant encouragement, especially when I get to hear from you! (In person, in comments, in whatever.)
Amen and goodnight!