Friday, October 28, 2011

Lessons Learned from Gymnasts and a Floppy-Eared Dog

Or at least, it's up there.

It was kindergarten. Our class was putting on a circus for our family and friends. I was supposed to be the floppy-eared puppy who wowed the crowd with my whimsical tricks. At the last minute I chickened out. I decided to join two of the cool girls and be a gymnast. I looked longingly at their quiet, beautiful elegance and decided that's what people liked--not silly, cute, floppy-eared dogs. During the circus performance when I heard them announce the puppy and no one went to fill the slot I felt the tinge of pain that only comes from leaving an important role unfulfilled. I hid behind the glitter and leotards in between the two pretty girls. And I wasn't even good at gymnastics. My clumsy cartwheels paled in comparison to the other girls who clearly belonged where I did not. This was the first time I can remember compromising who I really am for what I perceive other people want. It's times like these when I remember that the pain of regret is stronger than the pain of risk--even stronger than risking big and really botching it.

My parents were recently divorced. I, in part, contribute my shyness to that. What happens in our families really shapes us. I have grown so much since that day but at times I still make choices seeking other people's approval. I want to wear this, but I wear what I think my friends will like instead. I think of a joke, but keep it to myself for fear of sounding lame. I wish I was doing this kind of ministry, or had this spiritual gift or talent instead of that. Playing the puppy is something that would've brought me life and joy. I missed out on that, but I also robbed the very people I was trying to please. A circus doesn't need a third gymnast if that means leaving the performing puppy spot open. Maybe that's a stretch of a metaphor but seriously. God made us exactly who we are because the world needed someone like that. And because he liked who he made you. He thought/thinks you are a great idea. Aren't we kind of giving him the finger by trying to imitate the people we see around us that we think are better than ourselves? Let them be that. You be you. I'll be me. At least, I'll try.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is totally true. What a lovely reminder :)

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