Saturday, October 22, 2011

Midnight Ramblings

It's midnight and I'm sitting on the sleeper sofa in the living room of our yearly rented cabin. That's right, it's October. Also synonymous with the Jackson's Silver Dollar City trip. The sounds of screaming children, Iron-workers clinking their ore, and food frying fill the air.

Although currently the only sounds I'm hearing is the cacophony of my brother-in-law and father trying to beat one another in a snoring contest via their respective rooms and my sister attempting to drown out the nasal-fest with Gilmore Girls.

As much as I enjoy this yearly jaunt of tradition, the thought in my mind tonight is further away from that. I've seen this quote floating around Pinterest lately and it just keeps settling back into my mind.

"Comparison is the thief of joy."

Sigh. How often does that completely encompass my way of life? I miss out on a lot because I let my fear of inadequacy force me into complacency. I allow myself to feel small and belittled by things that are medial. It's okay if I don't have "that girls" legs, or am not four inches taller. It's okay if I am not as laid back, or funny, or uninhibited as someone else. Granted, that can easily become an excuse for a lack of willingness to try. But there's got to be a balance doesn't there?

I'm reading this book right now and the main character's grandmother is succumbing to. dementia. At one point her mother reminds her to treat her grandmother with dignity.

Dignity. Where is that word in our current day vernacular? It's a small, unidentifiable concept that we have completely lost the art of enacting. A couple of summers ago I lead a Beth Moore study of her book So Long Insecurity, and she referred to this topic a lot.

The gist of it is, is that I don't really know how to treat people with dignity or to give it to myself. Especially in this funny place of college where we're all beginning to make big life choices that may or may not be the same, and affect our lives very differently. Rather than remaining confident that regardless of my whereabouts now, God sees beyond the process, and will lead me to the end, I get defensive and choose to belittle other people. To lessen their value so I can cover myself with false confidence. Boo me.

In her book, Beth talks about learning to see each other within the eyes of equal value. And I guess it goes so much further than even insecurity. My sister has a new job teaching in the inner city and I love listening to her stories of her little sixth graders. She gets this beautiful position of choosing to see these children for what they are; children, not from a "bad part" of town, not "projects" and not less than her. They are babies that act a little too big for their britches sometimes, who say funny things, are smart, and love her in return. She gets to teach them that regardless of the hatefulness in the world, we can choose to do something about it. We can choose to let go of our i've-got-this-going-for-me-so-I-am-above-you mentality and choose to remember that we are all souls. That's what C.S. Lewis reminded me of when he said, "we are all souls walking around, you have never spoken to a mere mortal."

My mind gets so clouded with "he said/she said," and sarcasm and cynicism is way easier to cultivate than compassion and silence. And let me tell you, I suck at being silent when I have something bad to comes outta me like lava (Bridesmaids reference). So here's the thing, I don't really know how to change.

From my last post y'all can see I'm in an interesting place, and it's hard to keep being honest, because I want to settle here. i want so badly to allow complacency to gently lull me into monotony. And in a lot of ways I still am, but this is a baby step. I want to choose to think better. I want to ask God what that means, and have a clear heart about it. I want to do it for everyone around me who I claim to love, and I want to do it because it's important to look beyond myself. There is something greater out there than serving my own purposes. So here's to shutting up and letting God teach me how to love well.

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