You Are a Big Deal
Everyone has heard advice in their lives. Everyone, from the time they came into human form, has heard what it is they must do. There is no manual. For the most part, those giving advice are guessing, based on what is important to them. If you were lucky, you heard advice that compelled you to grow into a wonderful, well put together, at peace, caring, compassionate, thinking, independent, content, human being. But, really, is not this assessment just a back handed way of my offering advice on what you should be?
Think what you will of me, but I will share a story from my career as a youth worker in a Methodist church, which in some ways, tells a tale of me, and in some ways, shows my inexperience at the time.
Our group went to a conference in a local tourist town. We found ourselves in a service with around 1500 other attendees, in what the Methodists wanted to believe, was a cool, hip, meeting, that would show kids how relevant Jesus was, even years after his death. Beside me was Joanna, an student in eighth grade, who was shy, but cool. Awkward, but most likely destined to be a great student, in a great school, with plenty of friends. Behind me, was Joanna’s mother, who never cared much for me or my style of teaching.
After the music was over, the speaker ran out of breath, and the light show died down, there was a traditional eucharist (Christians use this to celebrate the Last Supper of Christ), which was administered by the method of intinction (participants take bread, dip it in a communal cup of wine, and consume the bread). This was all new to me, as I had not experienced this method of what I commonly call, “The Lord’s Supper”. Joanna turned to me and said, “I am not sure if I should do this”, to which I replied, “It is up to you”.
Joanna said, “My mom thinks it’s nasty”.
I said, “It is up to you”.
After the service, Joanna’s mother unleashed all the furies of what could be described as, all three hells, on me as we retrieved the vans to pick the group up and haul them back home. After she explained the virtues of my doing only what she, as a parent, wanted me to do, with regard to her child, she looked at me with a dignified rage and said, “Don’t you ever, ever, tell my child to do something I have told her not to do!”.
To which I replied, “Peggy… Jesus is going to do that someday”.
Now that I am a parent, I understand her frustration. Now that I have listened to Creator a little more in life, I understand my point, as well. To me, it has become an amusing antidote in the story of my life. I am unsure what became of Joanna and Peggy. Peggy’s attempts to have me removed from my position failed, but eventually I determined there were easier ways to affect lives than by being paid by an organized religion. “Jah Love” to all those that work in those conditions.
None the less, here all three of us were, with three different experiences of the same conference. All three of us in different places in our growth and maturity. All three of us with different opinions of what we were entitled to know and say. When I think back on that day, and those days, I smile still. Mostly at how important I thought I was and how important Peggy thought she was. Usually, when I consult the Divine on the matter, I hear the Divine giggle a little at how important I thought I was. I recognize the laughter because I hear it still when I take all my pressing, urgent concerns to the Universe for solutions.
What in the world would this story have to do with you? Why is this shared when the title suggested that YOU are a big deal. You are a big deal. Not for what religion you adhere to. Not for what you think you know of the Creator. Not because of your job, your clothes, your reputation, how many times your Little League team won state titles, your GPA in high school, or how well you adhered to the direct commands of your parents. Not for what you did yesterday or for what you plan to do tomorrow. You are the perfect manifestation of what the Creator of the universe thought the world needed in the instant you were created.
Sometimes we interpret “work in progress” as a negative thing. We hear the word, “work”, and do not focus on the word, “progress”. We are in transition. If you do not believe me, think of what you believed ten years ago and ask yourself if those beliefs have changed. Find a photograph of yourself ten years ago and compare it to what is reflected in any nearby mirror. We are changing, even if we do not intend to change, simply by the fact that the world is changing, and we are still able to navigate our way through the world. And this, my friends, is progress. It is growth.
Growth is not the fact that we have a better job, or more friends, or that we drive a newer car. Growth is not a better credit rating. Growth is what we have shared. Not money, but what is measured by how much of what the Divine has given us, that has been shared with others. We do not need participation trophies for every competition, but perhaps we need less competitions. What if we measured growth by the success of those around us? What if we did not feel the need to measure growth at all?
What do you see in the picture above? A trophy fish? An old man? What I see is a time when my son and my father went fishing. A time we spent together and enjoyed an afternoon near a pond. Personally, I prefer to remember moments of contentment more than I enjoy remembering anything I have accomplished, or any game I have won. The secret for me, is that contentment can be generated at any time, in any circumstance. It is always a possibility. Accomplishments, or wins, are good. But they cannot be created “on demand”.
You are a big deal. A really, really, big deal.
About that notion that the Divine is laughing. I promise you it happens more than you think. Never in a mean spirited way. Always in Love. The laughter is a result of the Universe knowing how limited our minds are when we try to find solutions. How troubled we are by things beyond our control. And, yes, how important we think we are. You are a big deal if you can learn to laugh with the Creator, but, regardless, you are a big enough deal for the Creator to seek you, to find you where you are and how you are, and to teach you to turn your tears into, at the least, a slight grin, caused by the suspicion, that where you are now, is not where you will be tomorrow. You are not a “work in progress”, but Baby Girl, Little Man, you ARE progress.