My friend Al says that most of us are convinced that life is a line, where we compare ourselves with those we perceive to be better than us (prettier, smarter, holier) on one side, and those we perceive to be worse than us (lazier, more judgmental, greedier) on the other side.
When we live our lives this way, we will never be content with what is. We will always try to jockey for a better position in line. We believe we’ll finally be happy if we just get bumped up in line a few spots. Have you ever visited someone’s house and loved it, only to come home and notice how much you hate your own filthy house? Have you ever seen someone’s gifts beautifully at play and appreciated them, only to walk away feeling worse about your own gifts? Have you ever seen someone make a royal fool of themselves, and in addition to feeling bad for them, you feel a little better about yourself, because you would never do something like that?
Of course you have, because most of us live our lives in a line.
When we self identify by comparing ourselves to those that we perceive to be better than us, we feel as though we’re missing out on the really good stuff. When we self identify by comparing ourselves to those we perceive to be worse than us, we are using the things we perceive to be wrong about them to justify the things we fear are wrong about ourselves. At least we’re not that bad.
Life in a circle is different.
Life in a circle means that you see each other.
Life in a circle means that there isn’t a hierarchy, there is only a generative space left in the middle for your life together to grow.
So be you.
Be the glorious mess that you are.
Be the creative genius that you are.
Be the nerdy bookworm that you are.
Be the tortured artist that you are.
Be the hilarious life of the party that you are.
Be the ambitious leader that you are.
Be the quiet listener that you are.
Be the hard worker that you are.
Be you, with an imperfect circle of others.
And let them not be you.
Frederick Buechner wrote this:
“Whatever you do with your life—whatever you end up achieving or not achieving—the great gift you have in you to give to the world is the gift of who you alone are; your way of seeing things, and saying things, and feeling about things, that is like nobody else’s. If so much as a single one of you were missing, there would be an empty place at the great feast of life that nobody else in all creation could fill.”
It’s time to get out of line and live differently.