I was standing on the corner of a busy road and a not-as busy road this weekend holding a sign about valuing life. And I was supposed to be silently praying, but then an old friend of mine walked over.
He’s one of those people who is probably way too cool to talk to me, but our paths tend to cross a lot and so sometimes we chat about all the mysteries of life, but we haven’t chatted in a while.
So when he walked over to me, I looked at the back of the sign which instructed we were to be silently praying and I looked at the rosary bead I was clutching and I just kind of made an assessment of silently praying vs. interacting with an old friend and old friend won out so then we talked. (But I still held the sign, should you be wondering).
He’s in the middle of wedding season, as am I (fall season update: three down, one to go), and we have a lot of mutual friends and some of them are the ones being married/ being given in marriage…so we compared notes about weddings and stories and marital masses. Then our conversation wandered to stories about mutual friends, jobs and spirituality.
One thing we said reminded me of a quote from Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, which was one of my oldest brother’s favorite movies for a while there (maybe it still is? I really have no idea). In the film, a more-grown Alice returns to Wonderland…but, now, being older, she’s in a different phase of life than before. The other characters find her disappointingly more drab, less imaginative, less exciting. It appears that, while she tried to maintain her zeal and imagination and color in the drab non-Wonderland-world, the traps of society did hedge her mind/ personality considerably.
And then the Mad Hatter uttered a line worth noting,
“You used to be much more…muchier. You’ve lost your muchness.”
I think the Mad Hatter is saying that Alice used to be more herself–full of ingenuity, strength, bluntness and courage–but, she lost that when she began worrying about where she stood compared to everyone else.
You know whom I admire? People who are so much themselves it’s impossible to compare them to anyone else.
I feel like most of the people I know who are most themselves are that way because they’ve let God do what He wants with them…and then He turns around and makes them more of what He imagined.
This, then, is my reflection: we can be so afraid to hand ourselves over to God. But, really, we have nothing to lose. We only become more of ourselves because the God who created us an knows all that we are capable of.
Do you know what I like most about myself? The things God has revealed to me.
Here’s another quote, by C.S. Lewis from his book Mere Christianity, ““How monotonously alike all the great tyrants and conquerors have been; how gloriously different are the saints.”
This is a side-note, but it ties in (kind of. I promise). Once I was on a day-retreat, in a small group with Fr. Simon as leader. The topic turned to confession and some people who hadn’t been to confession in years began saying how they were embarrassed to go back again. (Side-note upon side note! Here’s one of my favorite articles on confession!) And Father Simon shared that hearing about sin is decidedly repetitive and not that exciting. To quote, “It’s like Satan only has one playbook,” which is interesting to think about, I feel, since we’re generally promised by films and full-color magazines that immorality is suuuuuper fun and exotic and cutting-edge.
I guess my over-arching, under-lining point is this: I love the individuality possible across the human spectrum. I love how one friend can be passionate and strong…and another can be funny and laid-back, but they’re both gloriously themselves.
It is the mark of a good Creator, is it not?
May you become more of who you are.
^Sometimes I sign birthday cards like that. It’s a sneaky way of saying, “RUN! RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN TO THE ARMS OF OUR LOVING SAVIOR!” without actually saying that.
Do you know what I think? I think that, today, we should
PAUSE. RIGHT. THERE.
Because I paused right here.
Because someone called my phone.
And they were like, “I’m handing you this pretty cool-looking leadership opportunity for community and the people of God, if you’ll take it.”
And I was like, “I’ll think about it.”
Because I was JUST having conversations where I was like, “Yeah, guys, we totally need to intentionally bring people together so they can share and establish friendships and belong” but APPARENTLY when it’s time for action I’m a little bit leery of commitment.
Because then I sat in a pew at mass and went over in my head why I shouldn’t do this and it mainly centered around the fact that I want to learn to play the ukelele, I should clean my house, and maybe I should go to grad school.
And want to guess today’s reading at mass?
SERIOUSLY, GUESS FIRST.
MARTHA AND MARY.
I straight rolled my eyes to the heavens because I believe in being honest with God.
And then we (God and I) had the, “No one will remember you when you’re dead in a cemetery, might as well do things that lead other people to HEAVEN” talk. (This is a rehearsed talk because we seem to have it frequently).
And the delivered message was, “We’re all busy, but are we busy with the right things?”
Which kind of revealed that PROBABLY ukelele shouldn’t rank higher than, like, my friends’ SOULS.
La la la.
I was going to end by saying, “Blah blah blah let’s all pray today that we’ll follow God’s will for our lives.”
I’m not speaking for you people. I need to pray more, that’s for sure. And figure out which things should be filling my time and how to help all the people get to heaven and stuff.
Have a fun day.
Rank your priorities and be yourselves, kids.
^ I made you some web graphics.