Saturday, January 14, 2012

regret is universal but redemption is stronger

There will always be people who will say, “Just look what he’s done with his life! Couldn’t he have done more, been more? He’s not so smart as some people say, not so very clever. And his teaching…so…basic! Why, my four-year-old daughter could have taught me that. I don’t see what all the fuss is about. He’s not so great, after all.”

You think, “Maybe I made a mistake. Maybe I should have finished that degree. Maybe I should learn to be more like Dan. He’s so smart and people really admire him. But, wait: I’ve got it now: Darrin is great with words. What a speaker he is! Maybe I should join Toastmasters and improve my speaking abilities.”

You pass the days burdened with the feeling that nobody thinks you’re anything special. You try to remember all the positive things others have said about you over the years but you are plagued with the feeling that you’re just playing mind games with yourself. So, you think, “I’ll find a new job, that’s what I’ll do. I just know I can do it and I’ll find something I’m really good at.”

So, you look, only to discover you don’t have the right qualifications. When you find something suitable you’d like to do, it seems there are always eight better people waiting in line for the same chance.

You begin to think, “Who am I, anyway? Am I just a nameless, faceless…”

And then a face comes into view. It is the face of The One Who Sticks Closer to You Than a Brother. He lifts your head, locks eyes with you and says, “Listen. I love you. I gave my life for you and I would do it all over again. And I made you. Don’t you dare start calling ‘junk’ what I made special.”

You protest: “But Chris says—“

“What does it matter what Chris says? Who is Chris, anyway? Did Chris make you? Does Chris pray for you like I do—continually? Chris doesn’t know you. There will always be some naysayer seeking to diminish the talents I’ve given you. You just try to do the best you can with what you’ve got and don’t worry about what others think of it because I think the world of it.”

“But don’t you think I should have—“

“Of course, every human ‘should have’. It’s not a question of ‘should-haves’ and ‘should-have-nots’. Everyone has something they should have done but didn’t do. Everyone has something they should not have done but did, anyway. Regret is universal. But redemption is stronger. Redemption goes beyond titles and certificates; it goes beyond positions and promotions. It is the dignity amid humiliation, the nobility of the nobody. It is higher than the so-called ‘honor’ of human praise, which is fickle and fades more quickly than the snowflake melts in the sun. Redemption reaches farther than any other human achievement. It’s what I am always doing.

“Don’t you see? I love you because I love you. It’s not because of anything you’ve done or haven’t done. I just love you. It’s not because of how smart you are (and you are smart, by the way). It’s just that you’re my child and I love you. And because I love you, I am more than able to take care of you, no matter how many people know your name or recognize your talents--and you are talented, by the way—I know because I gave you those talents—and I’ve redeemed you. ‘Who am I?’ you ask. You’re mine.”

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