I’ve been fortunate.
Last week while in Chicago for a trade show, I met up with old friends; one from high school and one from the very beginning of my time with Adventures in Missions.
With canyons of buildings to explore, fireworks popping outside of my window, such PEOPLE! – tradesmen, architects, artisans, and colleagues; an adventure in South Chicago, the Art Institute, a terrific daily view, cool breezes, lights on the distant pier, and delicious feasts that weren’t all chocolate, my senses were comfortably, but tightly couched in wonder.
And in the middle of it, I realized that I was not who I thought I was.
Or perhaps, I now know unequivocally that I am no longer who I was.
I am a tiny ladybug on the edge of a very wide field.
I’m okay with that.
When once I believed that I was a impact-er for hope, wisdom, and grace (a firefly) or a leader and innovative thinker/doer (burrowing owl), a servant-leader (Animal Farm’s, Boxer), there were moments of grandiose reflection followed by guilted-reality. No matter how much was accomplished or applauded, I sadly knew that I’d never be all of who I wanted to be: a graceful gazelle, a commanding lioness, or every other good “thing” that I wanted to be all at once and all of the time.
Whatever I was, was never enough.
If I am something grand, why are my offerings so small?
Sitting across from my friend over tasty Chicago-born brews and talking theology, I realized how small I truly am; a tiny pause in the hustle-bustle in a magnificent city.
It was a relief.
I cannot fully articulate why finally accepting my smallness was a comfort, but I am reminded of a phrase, “small beneath the firmament.” Instead of being the creator and energy powering the creation, I am a little red bug in it. I am responsible for me, but not the scope of this creation…not even my little universe in it. Just my little round red self.
Last night at the tiny little lake on the prairie, my friend, M3, and I were the last ones to leave the weenie roast of friends and family. We sat on the limestone jetty with the surprisingly cool and fresh wind blowing the waves lapping at our feet. The bullfrog chorus faded out as the trees picked up the song strummed by the wind.
We looked up and watched the stars come into view.
The sun’s impact had to recede for us to see those jewels in the void.
We even saw a satellite sail silently across our sky
and the blop blop blop of light as a comet skipped into the atmosphere.
We were small beneath the firmament.
No longer girls with dreams of a great long life ahead
or the naiveté that only love and loss and love again erases.
But we giggled like those girls and spoke in wonder of how we feel so young in our hearts and heads.
We spoke of gratitude and not knowing.
We looked up and around
remembering the now-fading fire
scorched brats and s’mores
family and pals who sat with us that evening in the easy pace of old friends.
It was okay to be small then, too.
Because we know that we need one another
We invite one another in
And a meal of chips, cherries, cheese, hot dogs, and slaw
becomes a feast among royalty…
the kings and queens of our wide fields
where we live, work, play, and sometimes sigh.
And with such good company, we are never too small;
we are just right.
Still searching for the North Star.