This might be atypically long-winded, as I tend to hate long-winded blog posts. However, since it’s my last post here, I graciously ask all 20 readers to bear with me.
The delusion of world changing is hardly a malady which only infects the young.
Recent events have left me contemplative and more earnest about the things I wish to orient my life towards. I am thinking more about what is important and what is not. I am considering more deeply how closely the things I do match what I claim to be most committed to, what I say I believe. To borrow from YouTube’s current man of the hour, Jordan Peterson, this is a season of cleaning my own room.
Now as it happens, my physical room is currently pretty clean; the floor is vacuumed, the bed is made, and all but a wee bit of the laundry is unfolded. Like Peterson, I’m not necessarily referring to cleaning my physical room. However, in the interest of transparency, even my physical room was quite a mess for a week before I mustered up the energy to tackle it after an exhausting previous two weeks.
But in this case, I am referring to something deeper, something which goes beyond the mere appearance of being oriented towards the right thing as evidenced by the fact that my room is clean, and my husband pretty satisfied, and I managed to cook a good breakfast. I am referring to internal rooms, those places where things are really quite a mess but a mess which I have tolerated far too long while attempting to calm the nagging sense that something is wrong with the fact that most people think I have my spit together.
Two weeks ago, my grandmother-in-law went home to be with the Lord at the ripe old age of 93. For the sake of discretion, I will refrain from documenting the legacy she left behind, but it is, to put it mildly, outstanding. Every memorial that weekend, from the wake, to the fish fry, to the final services were standing room only, with people lined up outside for just the passing opportunity to pay homage to the memory of this great woman. I thought that the impact she had on my life was immeasurable, but what I gleaned from her was just the tip of the iceberg compared to the testimony of others who’d been blessed to know her.
The pastor -her pastor- who eulogized her, a man who’d known her his whole life and spent extensive time around her family as a young man titled his eulogy, “A Priceless Woman”. Proverbs 31 was the text he read from and he rightly noted, that “they don’t make women like this one anymore.” I couldn’t argue with him, even when I considered my own life as a wife and mother which sadly, in this day and age, would be considered by many as the epitome of faithfulness. But my grandmother in law? She was a part of a mold that has been broken. Most of us are trying, and haphazardly at that, to put together the pieces of it to build a rough replica. Others of us are presenting a caricature not based on anything of substance. But Grandma was the real deal, and everyone who knew her knew it.
Two years ago, my father went home to be with the Lord. I will refrain from documenting the legacy he left behind, but it is, to put it mildly, outstanding. Every memorial that weekend, from the wake, to the final services, to the unveiling of the memorial his town put up in the town square were standing room only, with people lined up outside for just the passing opportunity to pay homage to the memory of this great man. He was my daddy, so of course the impact he had on my life was immeasurable and more intimate than those who gave testimony of their experiences with him. Still, the reach of his influence was a blessing to behold, providing our family much comfort.
My husband is still a young man, relative to my dad and grandmother-in-law. He has not gone home to be with the Lord, and should Messiah delay his coming, I pray we have decades yet ahead to enjoy one another. But even at the age of 44, the legacy he is building is, to put it mildly, outstanding. He blesses people with his words, his excellence, his generosity, and his outlook.
In all three of the cases, these people had or are having immeasurable impact on the people around them just by virtue of being there, and obeying Scripture by doing everything that they do as unto the Lord. They never harbored dreams or delusions of being able to impact the world in a dramatic way on the force of their personality or unique talent despite all being truly talented, magnetic personalities.
My grandmother never used a computer. My father never used a computer. My husband tinkers with them all day, so I can’t say he never uses a computer, but I can say unequivocally that he never uses them for the purpose of sharing his thoughts on random issues with the world.
My father, as a church leader, used his voice. He used it in a principled, uncompromising way, and taught God’s word with authority. Somehow it never occurred to him that he should desire to be more than just the chairman of the deacon board. That his perspective, which was definitely outside of the cultural norm, needed to be spread far and wide.
Grandma was a faithful wife, patient and diligent mother, and a woman who managed her household well. Her door was always open to someone passing through and a plate of food was readily available. It never occurred to her that her stellar performance as a wife or in life was something she needed to share publicly with others so theyknow how it’s done. Her political opinions? She spent very little time speaking about that “nonsense”.
Oh, she taught us, and she taught us plenty. She just didn’t make a *thing* of it, quietly imparting her wisdom to us in an organic environment.
My man? This is getting wordy, and you know what I’m going to say anyway. Almost every bit of counsel he offers is solicited rather than advertised.
What these three have in common is that they all took the time to clean their own rooms, and worked outward from there; first taking the beams out of their own eyes, so to speak. I have come to the unequivocal conclusion that the difference between people like them and people like me is that they never thought of themselves as special, nor had any desire to be perceived as special. As Proverbs admonishes us, they let others praise them rather than their own lips.
This is about what I need to do, so heaven forbid it be viewed as any kind of an indictment against any other person who pontificates online, posts on social media, or tweets their political opinions on a regular. It is entirely possible that there are those for whom the value lies solely in the conversation. There are topics for me which the value lies solely in the conversation, which is why I write a book review blog. It also satisfies my innate desire to write, which my man wholly supports so long as it’s a healthy thing for me. Herein lies the rub.
The desire to offer my opinion as if it is worthy of consideration by any and everyone far and wide is worth a pause and refection. Offering controversy for human consumption and the resulting vexation of my soul is worthy of pause and reflection.
At the end of the day most personal, public, unsolicited advertising reveals either a belief in oneself as something special, or the desire to be viewed as something special. And most of us? We are just NOT that special.
It occurred to me recently that I’m okay with that. More importantly, like my husband, father, and grandmother-in-law, I can actually do more good to and for more people when I am securely at rest in the knowledge that it’s okay to just be plain old ordinary ME.
So I’m gonna leave this space behind and get to it, even if it means I’ll be dead when the people finally show up to my standing room only, lines around the building funeral service to declare how special I was. To use a basketball analogy, I’m leaving it all on the floor rather than the world wide web.