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Saturday, August 4, 2012

chameleon

I can't seem to think up much to say at the moment, only that I've spent an awful lot of time with some beautiful children in the past week.  Children are some of the loveliest creatures there are, although I refer to them as similar to animals far too often. Sorry about that, kids. You're much more wonderful than the average cat.  And at least half of you are more fun than a puppy.

Have you ever noticed the hierachy of the playground (or school, or play date, or absolutely anything involving a group of kids)? You better be on the up and up when it comes to what is the most current movie, game or TV show that is going on that week if you want to fit in. Otherwise you're the odd many out. I wonder if this is how kids are ultimately popular or not. Is it really just based on what we seem like we like? What backpack we have? If our clothes are not too weird. Thomas the Tank Engine and Superheros seem completely acceptable nowadays, but if you were to have a Barney backpack or, God forbid, a Sesame Street book bag, you might not have much of a chance. Really, you could do this with anything, what you bring to lunch, what you bring your lunch in, how late your parents let you stay up.  There are some kids who don't have a fighting chance--you just know it--and I think those kids will probably end up being the best ones when they're all grown up.

Secretly I wish that my sister will not be so popular in middle school, I scheme in my mind that maybe, just maybe, if most people don't instantly like her, if life is a little hard, if she has to fight to have friends, I know she'll be OK when she's older. Not too weird, of course, just a little strange. Just odd enough.  My sister will know who she is, she'll know it doesn't matter if everyone likes you. I guess I turned out OK, too, but I have seen first hand the downfall of being liked. You might not really know who you are or what you like yourself. You equate acceptability with being liked, I should say I do that. I do that. I've always been liked, but why?

I pet my little chameleon inside, switching colors when appropriate. Chameleons change out of self-defense, not to be liked, but it's kind of the same thing in my case.  Always saving myself from getting hurt, I'd change, then I'd be liked, I'd fit in, the right color just the perfect shade of this or that. I didn't know this for a long time, that I did this, but I do now, and I try to think about things before I do them. It helps.

You might have a lot of friends if you have the same backpack as everyone else, but you may never know which backpack you actually like the best.  This doesn't seem so bad when you're young, making small choices that don't necessarily matter if you're choosing them for you or for someone else. Someday it will though, I know.  Someday you won't know what kind of music you like because you've spent so much time liking everyone else's music.  Someday you'll look down and wonder what you are wearing and why, and realize that you hate everything about what you're wearing. These shorts are ugly. My shirt is too small. But I look just right. Great.

In 2012 we hardly should be spending our time talking about individuality and how to become more unique, more "us" .... however, I do think we need to be okay being who we are. If that means our faith makes us seem crazy, then that's who we are.

"There is nothing more frantic than sitting and trying to just be.  Have you ever tried meditating? For me it's about as pleasant as coming down off cocaine." - Anne Lamott

Though I've never experienced the highs or lows of cocaine, I know just how difficult it is to sit in on myself, like actually be in the room with me, fully present and aware. of. everything. I hate it. Then, usually, just when I have lost all hope, God comes in and taps me on the shoulder, or smacks me on the head--whichever I need that day, and I remember his grace.

I was reading Ecclesiastes 3 "time for everything" passage and thinking that was it. Seasons exist, life ebbs and flows, everything changes and nothing stays the same.  But then, right after you think it's done and we're moving on, there is a little verse that says "he has made everything beautiful in its time."

Oh. Really? Everything?

The hope of this hit me. Yes, there are times for suffering, sadness, change, breaking, healing, loving, losing, staying, leaving. It's painful to be human and have to live in time. I think I may dislike that more than anything else about being human. Time is so restricting, and is never what we want. Too much, too little, time brings loss too quickly and loved ones away. Knowing he makes everything beautiful in its time won't change the fact that time still moves, and we're in it, but the words rub me on the back in a soothing way and whisper, there is purpose in all this. I promise.

When I want to change colors, or don't know how to be, I think I can remember... this will be beautiful someday. I might not see it, but it'll be a stroke in the painting. That I can live with, that I can live for. Buy whatever backpack you want, and if you still choose because it's the one that everyone else has, then at least you know. And that's not so bad.

5 comments:

Cheryl said...

Dear Emma,
I love that you think of these things. You do always give me a perspective that I might not have come to on my own.
When looking at many classic paintings, many tapestries, it is in fact the dark that give the piece the depth, the overall beauty. Although I may not be able to realize this at the time, when I have walked through each day, in looking back, I know it is for good.

I often read your posts and think of my brother Stephen. We used to talk, even when he was so young, and I would leave with my head so full of thoughts. Things that may or may not have occurred to me. But I would also think, very gratefully, that I was relieved not to live in his head. I look at him now, and see the incredible man he is. I have learned so much from him. I do believe many are learning from you, too!
~Cheryl

Anonymous said...

You are going to be much more than just a stroke in the painting...
And the best decisions I have ever made are decisions that were questioned by the outside world...but that were authentically mine.
Many blessings to you...

Anonymous said...

It's beautiful NOW my friend. Because it's human. Because it's in need of Grace. Because it's real - and real is the only place where God is necessary.

Emma said...

Thanks for the comments... as much to think about in what you all say then in what I said. I love the thoughts of others bumping into mine, keeps me from staying inside too much :) appreciate you reading.

southernhon said...

I really love what you said about picking out your own backpack. You may get more friends if you choose the "right" one, but you may never know which one you really like best. This is one of the best things I have read today. Thanks for that, because knowing oneself (and liking oneself) is far more important than having a lot of superficial friends who decide you are worth liking only because you're "cool."

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