Written On, Written Off

A huge part of my story, a key factor in the WHO that I am and the HOW that came to be me has to do with the realization that what I loved and desired was, indeed valid and worth pursuit.

For a time, I seemed only to hear that there were better endeavors, more appropriate uses of my time, something better to use my talents and passions toward. These little messages, some of them not directly related to my calling at all, managed to chip away at myΒ assurance and redirect my focus to what others deemed more worthy of time and energy.

I stepped in another person’s should.

It may have been that I was easily swayed in my youth, or that I had little revelation to stand on, so any other persons vivid dream for me seemed more real, I don’t know. Either way I attempted to fit their mold.

I can still recall the moments – it happened over a period of two weeks and under the teaching of a wise, wise woman – when I felt the giant weight lift off my shoulders and the excitement that what I harbored deep inside didn’t need to be silenced, but needed to be expressed. I recall those days with such strength and fondness still, like key pieces of me being put together and acknowledged for the first time. My picture was beautiful, my story worth sorting out and longing to be written. It was the first time I felt like the world looked at me and said, “It is good.”

Struggling through letting go of other people’s expectations gave me a certain love for supporting people in their decisions, however against the norm, to step out and find their place, believe in the possibilities of their lives, risk and experience greatness.

Unintentionally, I also began writing off other paths. I began discounting steady, unwavering steps that were not like the ones I have taken. I began deciding what callings were more valid than others, by my standards.

Today, I posted a quote on my Facebook page about how some people’s personalities are more needed in the world than others.

Thankfully, I was called to the carpet and asked to explain myself. I found that there are definitions of words and assumptions we make and ways we read history that don’t accurately express themselves in a few words, quoted from someone I don’t know, but that make some feel better about themselves and can make others feel like they are doing something we don’t believe in.

Here is the quote:

The plain fact is that the planet does not need more “successful” people. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every shape and form. It needs people who live well in their places. It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane. And these needs have little to do with success as our culture has defined it. – David Orr

My artistic, creative, nomadic friends may read this as I first did and say “Amen!” Those of us living life with a lot of passion and a few pennies love feeling that our peacemaking, healing, restoring, storytelling, loving lives have worth beyond the bank accounts and luxury we see around us. We agree because we have been harboring the inadequacy of not having what the world is telling us we are supposed to have – the nicer, better, faster, newer things in life. We agree and, in that, begin to look down on those that have found success. We may say “We don’t need you! We have love!” and other things in our hearts.

So many things cloud up our response.

27 comments laterΒ on that post- all between me and my beloved brother-in-law – and I realize I am wrong in my blanket agreement. The truth is, the world does need successful people. Badly. Really, really badly. And it needs the peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers.

Why are the successful not considered these things? Does success automatically stop you from being a peacemaker, or a healer? Does success stop you from being a restorer, or storyteller? Does success mean you are not a lover?

No.

So why do we put the spectrum out there, placing one life on one side of the bar and other lives on the more acceptable side? Doing so just means I am still trying to get someone to win over someone else, all the while saying that isn’t what I want to happen at all. It means I am discounting one persons story, just as mine was discounted, judging the validity of their lives based on the VERY little that I know of it.

I am also making a giant generalization about people that I KNOW I would balk under and get worked up about.

This is me admitting there is a giant stick in my eye.

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13 thoughts on “Written On, Written Off

  1. It was a pleasure reading this. I read the comment on FB, and have to admit I was surprised. This article shows depth of character – and I’ve only experienced qualities and character in you worth admiring.

      • I re-read my comment, so I’m glad you asked that question. I think it could have been taken in the negative.

        I found the original post surprising because it seemed to imply, at least to me, that somehow being successful is a bad thing, and that successful people weren’t a part of the peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every shape and form club, particularly Americans. I say the latter because the post seems like a cry for the people of the planet to care more about a, b, c and less about x, y, z, but that the things that matter most in making the world a better place do not correlate with what’s important to us culturally. In that context I take it as a dig at American values.

        I honestly think about success a lot and all of the many facets that make up its meaning, but at the moment I’m only referring to monetary success because I think that’s what David Orr was referring to.

        I want more. More of everything. I guess on the surface that sounds selfish. But, when you dig deeper you’ll find that it’s for a greater purpose than having fun toys – which are cool to have, so don’t get me wrong. My motivations and reasons for wanting money-success are deeply personal, so it’s never nice to read something that, on the surface, appears to be judgmental of that.

        To be honest, I don’t take much of what I read on Facebook too seriously, as I think most of the things on there are ridiculous – perhaps that says something about the majority of people on my friends list, lol.

        However, I assure you, in my view, you aren’t in the category of the mentally challenged, as many people are, when taking time to post something on FB, so when I glanced the message on my News Feed I thought, “Okay. That’s different.” then I saw it was from you and was surprised.

        When the emphasized word in the post is success it implies that somehow success is an ugly thing. It implies that successful people are anything but peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, lovers of every shape and form, anything but morally courageous, anything but fighting to make the world habitable and humane, and for us to fill in the ugly adjective defining what success people are.

        I find it hard to see where this is coming from: “these needs have little to do with success as our culture has defined it.”

        I can’t speak for America, but I know that my ideas, dreams, desires, and definitions of success don’t come close to the implied meaning of that post. I found it a narrow description, representing only a small population of Americans (assuming he’s attempting to describe Americans).

        That being said, when I saw your WP article I was again reminded why you’re one of the people that motivates me to be a better person in the world. Bet you didn’t know that, huh? Well, it’s true.

        Anyway, perhaps I think too much, and read too deeply into that post… πŸ˜‰

        Keep blogging. One of these days I’ll spend a little time on my own blog.

  2. this is full of meats D. I’m going to be reading this over and over for awhile, as I would be considered one of your more “nomadic” friends:)

    • I am really glad you replied and explained. I think I realized that if the word in the original quote was changed out for the word “greed” it would be closer to what I had originally read it to mean and why I quoted it in public.

      Success, in itself is not a beautiful or an ugly thing and, you are right, pitting it against any other attribute makes it seem that it is inherently opposite. It doesn’t have to be.

      Thank you for not thinking I am mentally challenged, by the way πŸ™‚ This little misstep has proven to be a great experience and challenge to care about the words I say and their implied meaning more.

  3. Darc, I really love reading your blog posts. I’m one that doesn’t always comment, mostly because I feel a little inadequate sometimes in my writing skills but I do read. You have such a gift. I really wish our paths would have crossed while I was in Portland a couple weeks ago.

    • Patty! So good to hear from you! I am sorry, too that our paths did not cross. I hope you had a remarkable time here and enjoyed your family vaca. Thanks for commenting and letting me know you read. I have been beyond humbled and blessed to see that others relate to my words and feelings. It helps the world seem more stable πŸ™‚ Blessings to you and your family!

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