BUT, three Things of Worthwhile:
1. The Dude is really great at finding complete wastes of our time online (Spurious Correlations).
2. We have a sense of humor that delights in the absurd (Duck Song, Parts 1, 2, and 3--especially fun if you know the joke about the duck who walks into a bar and asks for grapes).
3. We have an appreciation for completely useless talents (Emma Stone kicks Jimmy Fallon's a$% at lip-synching).
So, without further eloquence (without further eloquence)...
A Fly on our (Chicken Coop) Wall, Amycake and the Dude, Considerings, Finding Ninee, Getting Literal, I Want Backsies, Mother of Imperfection, Rewritten, Thankful Me, The Wakefield Doctrine
I know people who can recite off hundreds of (maybe a thousand?) Bible verses. I cannot. Like many people, regardless of religious preference, I know John 3:16, and thanks to Mr. Brazil, my middle school Algebra teacher, I will never, ever forget Proverbs 13:15, "...the way of the transgressor is hard." (He worked that in almost every day.)
One summer during my teen years I attended church camp, and I learned a (what I just now realized when looking up the book, chapter and verse) paraphrased version of Hebrews 12:1-2.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us run the race before us, looking to Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.We had motions to go with it (file that under the effectiveness of kinesthetic teaching modalities because church camp was 20 years ago, at least). I'm not usually one to name favorites or bests, but this has to be a top passage. Whether or not Jesus is the pioneer and perfecter of your faith, you cannot disregard the beauty of those words. Pioneer and perfecter. Wonderful.
But what really made those words stick in my mind these twenty-some years is the cloud of witnesses. Have you ever walked through a cloud of gnats? I always thought of it like that, but pleasant. A sort of hovering presence created by all the people who loved you and taught you and modeled for you the right way to live. A remembrance of their example and an ever-present feeling of their love and support.
It's probably safe to say most people would name family members among their cloud of witnesses. And I feel the same. I am fortunate enough to not only name my parents and siblings but my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, along with several other 'great' relatives (now long gone) as people who had a decided presence in my early years. I grew up in regular contact with a very large extended family on both sides. I grew up knowing the peace and comfort of being loved and accepted simply because I was born.
When I was growing up, I always knew my family was the best family. No one else's compared. No other family was as clever, quick-witted, and funny. No one else's family was as intelligent and resourceful, as evidenced by so many notable and high profile successes. And no one else's family truly honored each member and enjoyed each other's company like my family.
And then I grew up. And I realized that my family has flaws, and that other people have wonderful families, too. Not as wonderful as my family, true, but wonderful in ways my family is not. For instance, my family is proud and competitive and tolerates teasing to a meaner level than I can appreciate.
Time went by, and I got married and had a baby. A baby who has turned into a wonderful little girl who thinks, talks, and moves slowly, for whom school will probably always be hard, and whose successes do not and will not look the same as the traditional successes modeled by my parents, my aunts and uncles, my siblings and cousins, and all. of. their. children.
And I found comfort in distance. I grieved over the distance and my inability to participate in family functions, but I felt safer in one regard. I could protect my daughter from negative comparisons or from feeling left out. And I could protect myself from seeing the differences between her and her cousins. I could protect myself from feeling I didn't belong because the child I produced doesn't fit the traditional model of success demonstrated so well by my family.
I wrote a blog post on May 9 titled The Hardest Part. It's about the stressfulness of decision-making for your children. A few days later, I got an email from a family member offering a gift that I never expected and could not immediately comprehend. And in it, I remembered the essential lesson modeled by my cloud of witnesses: you are loved and accepted because you were born.
You do not need to perform. You do not need to think and look and act the same. You are loved and accepted and treasured because you were born. So great is my cloud of witnesses.
This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post for the prompt, The nicest thing someone ever did for me was...
Join in with Janine, Kate, Kristi and Stephanie.