Sunday, April 29, 2007

Sunday Reflections

This morning my pastor preached his third or fourth message in the sermon series he's on right now, about living above our circumstances. This morning's message was about staying strong by focusing on the future, letting go of the past, and letting God and his grace take care of the rest.

I think it's a good message for everybody. Heaven knows there are things in my past that I think about and cringe, comments I really shouldn't have made that soured friendships until the friendships didn't exist anymore...feeling like I had to apologize for everything I said to my friends, starting every phone call with, "I'm so sorry to bother you..." Not letting myself be who I am, in a nutshell. Trying to conform to everyone else's ideals of what Miri should be, and getting anxious and disheartened when they figured out that they didn't like, that either.

I'm ready to let go of all that, I think. From here on out, I want to be me, the best me that I possibly can. Do you want to be you? Is there anything stopping you from doing that? Are you stopping yourself?

See, I like thinking about things like this, even though it's uncomfortable to go back through all the junk that you've been holding onto. It's the writer in me, I think: these are strong themes to work with for a character, too. I've had a lot of good themes for characters come in lately, though I'm so far into my WiP that I won't be able to use as many as I'd like...the desire to be remembered, for instance, or to have a true purpose. Between the song "Dante's Prayer" by Loreena McKennitt and a comic I read about one of my favorite television characters, Jet, called Fighting with Purpose, last night was very thoughtful for me. Might as well link to the comic, though you'll have to click on the big dark block to see it. If you're familiar with the show, so much the better, but I do think it'll stand on its own. (Just before the scene pictured, he said, "I'll be okay," and another character said with absolute certainty, "He's lying." Talk about powerful moments. That episode's been nominated for more awards than I can remember, so other people apparently feel the same.)

As for the song, there's a very nice video to it on Youtube set to clips of Legolas from Lord of the Rings (though I don't think I've actually watched the whole video...I just have it playing in the background as I'm reading other things). It starts off slow, but wait for the piano intro about a minute in. Guaranteed to put you in a pensive mood. It's absolutely beautiful.

Hmm...I had a point in there, somewhere, I think, but I seem to have lost it.

Happy Sunday.


Robin Brande said...

Miri, I love talking about this stuff. Thanks for getting it started.

I just got back from teaching Sunday school, where somehow I got off on this whole tangent about just what you're saying: our responsibility to be exactly who we are.

We all have our own particular talents and personalities and bodies and strengths and flaws, and I deeply believe that who we are--EXACTLY who we are--is what's necessary to fulfill some particular role in the whole scheme of things.

It's not only useless, but damaging to wish we were anyone but who we really are. I think we can all improve ourselves--be kinder, more patient, more loving, etc.--but that's different from trying to become like anyone else. I think that's an insult to God and to ourselves. We are enough just as we are to do the particular work we were meant to do.

And how do we know what that work is? By paying attention to what truly moves and inspires us. That piece of music, for instance: when the piano and violin kicked in, it gave me chills. I'm grateful to the composer who created it, to the musicians who performed it, to you for posting it.

Now what if that composer had decided he should be like his brother and become a doctor instead? Maybe he would have been a good doctor, but would his heart really have been in it? And then where would we get that particular piece of music? It wouldn't exist.

Years ago I read in a career guidance book called What Color is Your Parachute? this test for how you should spend your life and talents:

1. Is this something that the world needs to be done?

2. Is this something that you are passionate about doing?

For example, if you're a doctor in a leper colony, but you hate every minute of it, then you fulfill part 1, but not part 2. And you're really taking up space when there's someone else out there who can do that work and would love doing it, so your job is to get out of that person's way.

If on the other hand your passion is writing, but you're using your talents at an advertising agency creating campaigns for deodorant, you're fulfilling part 2 but not part 1.

That analysis really meant a lot to me. And I think it applies to more than just career choices. I think it's back to your initial point about being yourself. It's time to drop away any fears or hesitations about being exactly who you are, because you have a unique role to fulfill.

And unless you're following your heart every minute--saying the things you really want to say, loving the music and books and people you really love without worrying whether those choices are cool--then you're short-changing not only yourself, but all of the rest of us in the world who really want to experience what the authentic Miri has to offer.

Please give us nothing but the real you, always. Imitation is such a waste of your time and ours.

ERiCA said...

Definitely be you! After all, we're the only things in life we ever truly have control over. =)