Under A Freer Sky
Everyone is not interested in what I have to say, despite what I may think. In fact, I could probably count on a few hands how many people are genuinely interested in me. Yet, how often I fail to realize this. It’s so easy to get caught up in this idea, delusion of grandeur, that the world is more interested in me than they actually are. It’s so easy to focus on me, me, me.
I recently saw an article entitled Narcissism is On The Rise: Good News You Are Not Alone. I couldn’t help but laugh aloud. We all tend to think a little more of ourselves than we ought. We post an image on facebook and check back later to count the likes. We instagram our child and wait for the hearts to pour in. We think the world is waiting to read our next thought. So much focus on self.
I am rereading G.K. Chesterton’s classic Orthodoxy. Chesterton, in describing the Maniac, wrote something that made me pause: “How much larger your life would be if your self could become smaller in it.”
I want a larger life. I want a life lived to the fullest, that drinks in majesty of the mundane, the glory of the grime. I long to be empty of me so I can be full of Him.
Smallness is the way to a larger life.
The Moments that Make Life Large
If I’m honest, the most magical moments of my life have come when no one else was looking. When I gave birth to my firstborn, cried tears on my pillow over a broken heart, and felt the hand of my lover in mine. These are the moments that make life large.
Seven Sisters in Oxford, England will always be a sacred place to me. Nestled on the top of the English countryside, I used to wander there daily while we lived in Cumnor. I wanted to be alone. To sense the stillness that wakes one to realize that life is not about one's self. To call to my mind that there is more to the digital-crazed, narcissistic world than meets the eye. The birds at Seven Sisters always sounded louder, the sky was always bluer, and the grass woke with an incandescent green.
I found myself under a freer sky.
Moving back stateside has been hard. While abroad, I felt so far removed from all the noise, traffic, and media. And though at first, I felt a void, I soon found I kinda liked it. In fact, I came to love it. The relationships maintained while living abroad were those that were not based on Facebook but on Facetime. Face to face encounters, where we loved one another in each other’s physical presence.
These moments made my life large. Not because I had an audience but because I had fellowship.
I became smaller as I thought of others I loved rather than wondering what others were thinking of me.
Give Me A Garden
I don’t need a stage. I honestly don’t want a stage. I want a garden. Ground where I can grow and cultivate relationships built on love. Land that I can lay my head upon and see how blue the sky is. Dirt where I can get my hands muddy with the hard work of labor.
I want to notice others who don’t notice me.
I want to warm at the sight of the young man handing his lover an umbrella in the rain. I want to smile at the child who is exasperating his mother in Target. I notice them because they are not interested in me one bit. Lord, give me eyes to see.
“If you could really look at other men with common curiosity and pleasure; if you could see them walking as they are in their sunny selfishness and their virile indifference! You would begin to be interested in them, because they were not interested in you. You would break out of this tiny and tawdry theatre in which your own little plot is always being played, and you would find yourself under a freer sky, in a street full of splendid strangers.”
It’s no mystery. The moments that make my life large are the unseen moments. The emptier I become the fuller my self becomes. Smallness is the way to a larger life.