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Risk Our Significance

I believe that every one of us wants to matter. We want people to listen to us or to follow us or to want us in their circle. In elementary school, the daily draft for lunchtime soccer found us scrupulously counting how many poor souls were left in line with us while we kicked the dirt and pretended to barely pay attention. In our grown up years, we watch jealously for who gets the party invites or the promotions or the skyrocketing social media stats. Miska and I have a friend who jokingly (I think) refers to her A-list friends and her B-list friends. I refuse to ask which list we make. If it’s not A, I prefer not to know.

Because of our desire to make it good (and this is not altogether a bad thing, we were made to splash our beauty on this world), we may begrudge others who hit the highlight reel. It’s a normal, human reaction, but it can be ugly. There’s a reason they call this the green-eyed monster.

However, when we live with the fear that our life may wash out with nothing of worth to show for it, a more insidious temptation seeps in. We begin to guard our life, to tame our voice. We begin to watch too closely for others’ reactions. We take our cues from everywhere but our own still, solid soul. We may believe that our possibilities are dwindling, that the power brokers must be wooed by our impeccable one-shot precision. Like Smeagol and his ring, we clutch our passions or our quirkiness very close.

This is why the old teachers told us that if we were to be true and to live well it is essential for us to risk our significance. To live with integrity, we must lay down the demand (though not the desire) that our life make spectacular impact. We must risk being the fool. We may still hope for that grand epitaph, but we leave the words for the dead to those who write the words for the dead. And what we do is we live. We live true. We give what we have. And we trust that goodness and love will write our final story.

 

boyplayingfootball_winncollier

11 thoughts on “Risk Our Significance

  1. “We must risk being the fool.” Those have been God’s words to me over and over again lately, thank you for affirming them here.

    1. you’re welcome, Kelly. I try to be a fool at least twice a day.

  2. Thank you for sharing this. I start back teaching tomorrow and am already as tired as I would be in November. I have much more work as far as promoting my novel. So these words seem like words from the Lord.

    1. that weariness can get in the bones, can’t it? well I hope your teaching goes well and your novel flies off the shelves.

      1. Yeah it sure can get in the bones. Yeah…Thanks for the good wishes…

  3. A timely word, Winn. I’ve been thinking on this quite a lot lately. Thanks, man.

    1. you’re welcome, Kris.

  4. Yup, yup. Somehow, we have to find our way to be who we are, without apology or fear. Thanks for the encouragement to keeping looking.

    1. This tendency to apologize for our person, for our real voice or our deep desires, is pervasive. And dehumanizing.

  5. This got shared in my facebook page…thanks for deeper push.

    1. Thank you for the kindness.

words have a way of making friends. drop a few here.