The Life of Liz

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. ~Anne Frank

Sunday, May 16, 2010

You are a unique snowflake, just like everybody else!

I am a lone introvert in a sea of extroverts. As you might imagine, it can be a bit hard on me to be so intrinsically different from everyone around me. I don't seem to fit in the prescribed roles of the rhythms surrounding.

No one sees me.

And in my inability to either re-create myself in the acceptable mold or to find my unmolded self acceptable, I've formed somewhat of a martyr complex.

"Put me to suffering," says John Wesley. "I want to know Christ...and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings," says Paul to the Philippian church. I have pressed on to know suffering, looking for a sword to fall on. I have carried these teachings.

And while I won't say that these two illustrious men were completely wrong, I certainly was. The Baal Shem Tov argued that the true service of God is expressed, not through suffering, but through joy.

What?! Joy?

Suffering is a temporary condition, not a place to live. Joy, on the other hand, arrives each morning. I carry sorrow, but joy carries me. Nehemiah said the joy of the Lord is your strength.

Ok. Out with the martyrdom, in with the joy. I still don't fit in...

...which leads me, of all places, into the Wilderness, to the Book of Numbers. The Hebrew verb so blandly translated as "tally" or "count" has many meanings. In Genesis, this same word is translated "remember." It can also mean "to give purpose to".

Meanwhile, "take a Census" is more accurately translated "lift up the head." So Numbers actually starts out with God telling Moses to lift up the heads of the people and remember/count/give purpose to each.

In this lifting, it becomes clear that each person is counted as a part of the nation, as a part of their tribe or clan, as a part of their family, and also as an individual. I am myself, but I am also part. I am my clan, but I am also unique.

I can be different from everyone but still be part of my community because love transcends personality. Instead of isolating me, my unique identity allows me to serve my given purpose.

With joy.

2 comments:

Kath May 16, 2010 at 12:06:00 PM MDT  

A most perspicacious post.....

Marissa May 20, 2010 at 7:19:00 PM MDT  

Jill, this is sooo good. I especially love the sentence, "I carry sorrow, but joy carries me." Thanks for sharing.

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A brand new mom trying to navigate the crazy world of mixed families, babies, and working full time. Phew! Just writing that makes me want to lie down.

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