I tell my students that all of their school subjects are connected. Just because each one is taught in a different room does not mean they are truly separate. Events in our lives and stages of our lives can seem disconnected, too. But they are actually all connected. The tributaries of our lives flow together and gain strength. It is easy to forget that.
It is so easy to compare oneself negatively to what is often considered ideal by “the world”. Often, only a certain category of skills, accomplishments, talents, or physical appearance is deemed acceptable or noteworthy. No matter how strong our own self-esteem or self-confidence is, there are days when we assume we just don’t measure up.
I remember sitting in a friend’s dorm room one fall day. We had attended the same high school, church, and youth group. Yet we had never really known each other. We had no friends in common. She was a lovely girl, beloved at our high school, very smart and kind, had been a cheerleader and the homecoming queen. I had been active in speech and drama, the literary magazine, various church groups, and political and social movements (like Hunger Hikes, etc). Anyway, as we sat there talking and having a cup of tea, I said in true and pleased amazement “gosh, I can hardly believe I am sitting here and talking with you, Megan!” She looked at me in equal amazement and said she felt as amazed as I felt. That, of course surprised me because it never occurred to me would have wanted to spend time with me!! It occurred to me then and now that it would be a real mind-blowing event if we could see ourselves through the eyes of those who love us!
We are wrong when we think that we aren’t good enough because our gifts and talents differ from what is supposedly held in high esteem in society. The Bible tells us there are many gifts but the same Spirit. So each of us is special. Yet each needs the discipline to improve, learn, and grow. Everyone struggles/struggled to learn certain things. It is in the submission to the discipline of learning that we grow. In a way, what really matters, is the process and the journey. You see, each time we do that, we improve our ability to learn things.
It is exciting to learn and grow. Do you find yourself holding back at times? Or forgetting to set goals? I do! It is easy to minimize our own gifts and stand in awe of the gifts of others. Yet God calls us to more. He calls us to love His creation, including to love what He created in us. It is a life-long challenge to become the marvelous creation He made us to be. Yet each step of the way can be a marvelous, glorious mountaintop and mountain climbing experience.
Each person in our life is His gift to us. The joyful part of life is accepting and challenging each other to bloom and grow; and, ‘playing the sunset’, as Mr. Holland said in Mr. Holland’s Opus.
He told one of his students, “Playing music is supposed to be fun. It’s about heart, it’s about feelings, moving people, and something beautiful, and it’s not about notes on a page. I can teach you notes on a page, I can’t teach you that other stuff.” He, of course, was talking about music and any endeavor. It is about more than the tasks. It is about the gestalt, the joy. Do you lose sight of that like I do sometimes?
Perhaps when we lose sight of our master plan and vision for or life, we are reducing our symphonies to discrete, disparate notes. Sometimes I forget that my life is in the process of becoming an opus. However, having been through many decades already, I do have more of a sense that my life is a pretty cool opus. However, when we forget that life is a joyous journey, it is no wonder that on those days we feel as though we are off-key! But all we need to do is “clean our our spit valve”, “tighten our strings”, re-tune, re-group, and play again.
We have a life-time to play our symphonies, to dance our ballet, to write our story, to draw our landscape, to…..you get the idea! But some days I just know—before that sun sets over the horizon, I must get out, walk, smell the air, hear the birds, turn my eyes to His mountaintops—and rejoice. May you have a rejoicing day :-). Play the sunset.