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 my 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 later 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?
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.