“All I am and have I owe to my big brother.” These words are my co-workers screensaver on his computer. I chuckle whenever I see them because I know exactly how they got there without ever asking. While my own brother is a truly fabulous human, what he is famous for in our family is the good-natured ribbing that comes from asserting his unending perfection. I am certain changing a screensaver to proclaim his awesomeness is right up his alley, and I am confident that my co-worker has the same type of humorous brother. Yet, these types of ridiculous acts do not come from a place of pride and boasting, so they become endearing and serve as memories of people we love.
Love does not boast…
But we do boast, don’t we? Whether we think it in our hearts or speak it out loud, we boast in ourselves, in our own talents, in our own merits. So… All I am and have I owe to…??? Me, right?
Or wrong…? In my limited self- focused view, I lay claim to my own abilities and my own achievements. Yet, in an ever-expanding view from the heavens my accomplishments here seem the natural progression of the life I did not earn but rather was gifted.
Born in a time of possibilities for both freedom and economy… Born in place where my gender and my race are not hindrances… Born to a family where love and education where the gifts freely given… Never have I not had a meal or shelter or clean water for even a day… Never have I not had medical insurance for even a day… Even in my personality, when I struggle, I have never been alone because my heart naturally leans into God’s presence during trials, instead of being angry and blaming God.
So… All I am and have I owe to…??? My birth??? The place, the time, the family, the genes given me???
Oh I see… All I am and have I owe to God. And that is not lip service. That is a true and humbling statement.
Love is not proud…
Yet, that is not to say that we are not significant. We still have our part to play.
I’m a puzzle piece. Even if the 99 pieces come together, if I am absent, what will stand out is not the picture the 99 are making, but that I am AWOL.
You are a pixel on the movie screen, but if you do not shine, what becomes apparent is the not the depth of the characters but the lack of clarity on the screen.
We are each notes in a symphony. Off-tune or poorly timed, however small we think our notes are, we effect the grandness of the orchestra. Even our absence is like nails on a chalk board.
Thus if we boast, it should be in the picture together we are making… the grand story together we are telling… the music in the symphony together we are playing… And that God is creating and directing and composing with us. If I boast, it is that God weaved me together in such a way to participate.
I am the image of God. I am a puzzle piece. I am a pixel. I am a note. And I must play my part.
I am neither high, nor low. And when I meet other puzzle pieces or pixels, I know that they too are neither high, nor low. They have great value. They belong. They have a part to play and they are significant. They, too, are the image of God.
And… all we are and have we owe to God.
I boast in the gift of the life I did not earn, but I will receive. I am proud to be made worthy by God to be among other pixels and puzzle pieces. I will ensure they too are accounted for and share their light. This is love…
Tomorrow, in Confessions of a White Girl, I will tell a tale of misplaced boasting related to color, and my own lack of awareness that I even had a ‘note’ to play. This post is part of a series in which I explore the practical meaning of the life of love God is calling us to. Directions is the first post that kicks off the series, and Waiting and Wiggle Room (Love is Patient) and Plus One (Love is Kind), follow from there. Us is the story of love’s kindness offered to me. If you want to get notifications about future posts sent to your e-mail so you don’t miss them, then you can subscribe at the side bar or the bottom of the page, depending on the device you are reading on.