Friday, April 29, 2016

"No one else can play your part."

It's a busy day with plenty more to do, but I had to write after what just happened to me. I'm in the midst of getting ready to chaperone a church youth group retreat; the closer the date has gotten, the more anxious I've become. It seemed like a fun idea when I volunteered because I was so involved in the youth group in high school and had missed it while I was away at college, but the reality is that a lot of things have changed and there are different people who I don't know well going on the retreat. My social anxiety floated into the periphery and I just felt generally not pleased with the prospect of leaving; riding in a crowded car for four hours, watching cheesy games, singing cheesy songs (I had hoped to be on the worship team too so another reminder of disappointment), listening to canned talks. I recommitted my faith earlier this year after about half a year of disillusionment, but I still have trouble with how canned and obsessively positive or overly simplistic many of the teachings of its followers can be.

But to move on with the story, that was weighing on my mind, as was the fact that it was the birthday or a friend from school and so my Facebook feed (and brain) was full of reminders of what I was missing not being at school and how my friends were getting to participate in clubs, etc. that I was never able to get into. I didn't feel too down, but in the back of my mind I felt inferior and lame. I noticed that people stopped liking my FB posts as much in the past couple months so I've tapered off sharing and when I think of something I wan to share, I often tell myself never mind. That happened today. The point is, I was starting to feel subconsciously inferior, etc.

Suddenly, I was face to face with just the message I needed to hear but didn't even know I needed:
No one else can play your part.
I follow To Write Love on Her Arms on Facebook and they had posted this simple message, one of their taglines. I had seen it many times before, but it had never resonated with me like this. I took a step back from the negative feelings piling up at my feet and pulling me down and opened up the window to let some light, some perspective, some hope into my gloomy world. I had a role to play in this world. I had a voice to add to the chorus. I had a song to sing and a message to give, a story to tell. I was here for a reason and put through certain things for a reason. My life mattered and my words mattered and my actions and unique personality, sense or humor, and perspective. It felt as if the light had come flooding in and my world was illuminated so I could see beyond the little pile of scraps I was bent toiling over to a wide open plain of possibility.
To Write Love on Her Arms

I get so caught up in tracking web traffic or statistics of views and likes and rejections and acceptance letters that I forget 99% of the time that none of that matters. I've been given a voice and I need to speak my message, do my work, sing my song, be myself, no matter how other people receive me (or if they even bother to receive me). I enrich the world with the additional unique thread I add to its tapestry. I deepen the sound of the choir with my own new harmony. No one else could play my part. No one else could write this blog or those songs or diaries or bad poetry or whatever else I've done, even things that will never see the light of day, and there is beauty in each of those things. Just like there are animals living out in the Amazonian rainforest I will never meet or come across, but I believe the world is better and richer for them being there.

There are so many animals that you wonder what their purposes all are, but they make the world richer and they bless it by being their own unique self, like no other species. And they do each have their own unique role in the ecosystem and without their existence, one thing or another in the environment would get out of hand, which would lead other things to get out of hand. We need all the people who are on this earth, and I wish we would let them know that more often. I wish we would acknowledge each of their unique potentials. It amazes me that after all of the billions of people who have existed on this earth, there are still new combinations of looks, personality, and experience to make billions of more unique people. Why do we spend all our time putting people down for being different when it's our uniqueness that makes us great? Sometimes I think we're even more cut-throat than the animals.

So, fellow warriors, your part is worth playing and no one else can play it. If you're having trouble believing that, please get help. One great way is the Crisis Text Line, which you cant text to at 741-741.

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