October is next week; the beginning of fall. It’s a season I do not relish. I don’t rejoice in what it is: brilliant colors, snuggling in sweaters, hot apple cider taking off the chill. I merely view it as the start of winter. And in doing so, I miss the best part of fall. Instead of enjoying its treasures, I make it into something it was never meant to be.
Last night, Richard and I talked over dinner. Dinners are tough for me; they zap me of my energy. Every day, day in and day out, all that preparing and work for something that is over in 30 minutes. When I’m by myself, I don’t mind having a sandwich for dinner. For a larger, more elaborate meal, I fail to see the creativity combined with the nourishment. The drudgery slows my heart and weighs me down.
I’ve tried this past month to make healthy meals, different meals, even some fun meals. I thought I was doing well. Then Richard complains. All the energy leaves me. His mother, for example, only went to the store once a week. She planned all her meals for the week ahead of time, got all her supplies in one trip and never had to go to the store in between. Why can’t I be more like his mother? The words chafe. I can’t be more like his mother because I’m not.
Why do we do that? Compare people to others; want them to be something they are not? I’m not sure, but I wish we’d stop it.
My sister is a Martha Stewart type. All the preparation, all the planning energizes her. Her meals aren’t like mine; they are lavish, orchestrated events. She tackles recipes that would leave me flattened. Why can’t you be more like her? I’ve heard it all my life.
Do we compare others because of something we are missing in ourselves? Not sure. But I have felt forced into a mold when all I wanted to be was free. I’ve felt beat up by images of what others want me to be. Not a better me, but a different me. A me I was never created to be. Rather I want to be winging my way, liberated and light, towards who I really am. I don’t want to be assessed. I want my words, ideas and dreams to bring pleasure to my Lord; not be tamed by some arbitrary human evaluation. I want to be appreciated for the best parts of myself.
We fracture community when we compare. We find the weak points in another and tear at them. Does that make us feel better about ourselves? Shouldn’t we just rejoice because we are together, that we are close? Can’t we use our communication, our words, to deepen intimacy?
I was never meant to be a weak imitation of someone else just as autumn was never meant to be the poor stepchild of winter. God is all over the details of my life. He smiles at the times when I am truly me. When I laugh at something no one feels is funny; when I cry because the sorrow cuts quick to the pain in my heart; when I give thanks for something deeply moving to me; those are the times God rejoices and says, “It is very good.” If you do one thing today, celebrate someone for the truly marvelous person God made them to be. Give the world that. Be the audacious, untamed someone who breaks out of the mold by giving others the courage to just be themselves.