sticking our toes in the fountain at Western University
I've been chewing on a thought for a couple of weeks now, and it struck me earlier in the week that maybe I should just share it, because if I need mental reinforcements, someone else probably does, too.
I've been thinking a lot about how we celebrate other people: their opportunities, their successes, their achieved goals, a life-changing pivot point like a marriage or a baby's birth, or even something simple--like a great-looking haircut.
I know some people who can't be on facebook much because of the un-ending comparisons they will make between themselves and everybody else; choose a category in life. I know others who hate pinterest because they will inevitably feel like failures if they don't do All the Crafts or have The Perfect Eternally Clean House.
Me? One of the things I get down in the dumps about is when I feel trapped in one place, unable to travel and see things outside my little pinhole camera view. Summer is great for adventures and it's when most people vacation. Last year our big travel included a moving truck and a 1,800 mile freeway tour. This year, we won't be going anywhere significant outside of a 2-hour radius. For someone who traveled more before the age of 19 than most people do in their lifetime, this sort of feels like (ridiculous, first world, silly, _____ ) being trapped and tethered to responsibility, without any fun rewards along the way.
It's only been a few years, but it can seem like you'll never make it when you're running towards the goal, and the ribbon keeps getting pushed back a few more miles when you get to your last loop.
I don't want to feel this way, and I try really hard to fight it. Collectively, can we all just admit that we sometimes just have to fake it til' we make it? That our answer to prayer might not be just around the corner, and we might not get that thing we want? Our lifetime might include waiting, but our hope is not in the things we want, or the results we can easily measure. Our own success is in the waiting and the humble act of submitting before God that He owns this thing.
It's so easy to fall into a well of discouragement and toasting at your own pity-party, but with whatever emotion or comparison you're trying so hard to stay on top of, let's just admit that this side of heaven can sometimes seem a little...long. Our opportunity is to keep our eyes on Jesus, and we have that every day. Hebrews 12:3 says this, "Consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and loose heart." (my emphasis)
But it's really hard to celebrate other people's success when you feel like you've had nothing but fails, waits, bills, setbacks, and limbo for a long time.
I don't want to be a complainer, and I don't want to stay in a stagnant spot in my personal growth. I want to celebrate others, and I want to feel grateful for their successes and opportunities. I want to be an equal-opportunity celebrator. To celebrate means to commemorate, to make publicly known, to proclaim, to praise widely, to perform appropriately, to participate. Those are all such powerful, active words. We can take that role in the lives of those around us, participate in the guts and glory and rejoice for the blessings we have been given, even when our own lives can feel inactive.
I'll keep praying for movement, or at least eyes to see the horizon, and you do that, too. In the meantime, I wanted to tell you how much your new haircut suits your sweet face. And I mean it.