Don't Believe the Hype

I have these days, rarer and rarer though they are, where it's all good. My hair is so amazing that I should be in a Pantene commercial. No zits to be found on my fair and creamy complexion, nuanced to perfection with just the right colors of makeup. The weird water weight floating on my tummy, so my pants fit great. Life is good and I am awesome.

Then I trip. Or drive to work with part of my skirt hanging out the car door. Or I spill something on my shirt or realize I've been smiling at the world, thinking I was stunning, with a big chunk of green parsley between my teeth. Something. Anything to remind me that I'm not nearly as awesome as my ego and imagination might like me to be.

Loved, God gently reminds me, but not the Princess of Quite A Lot.

We humans like to believe the hype: that we are as amazing as our selective hearing hears those around us say we are; that the gifts we bring to the world are so original, so cool, that we are indeed at the center of the universe; that our opinions are so needed that anyone who dare disagree with our viewpoint is wrong, idiotic, and foolish to ignore our imparted wisdom.

Except that it's all hype. It's all something we've dreamed up to feel better about ourselves, often at the expense of other people. Hype is imaginary and ethereal, elusive and false. The truth, concrete and holy: We are all individually amazing in some way, as are others. Collective amazing is always better than individual ego. The gifts we pool together make the world and creation a beautiful work of art. Solo artists just bring one perspective. And the great truth is, we are never solo artists. We are always, in some way, influenced by those around, before, and near us. Their voices and words, songs and perspectives, move our paintbrushes. And those other opinions that get in our way? Well, they are valid voices, too. They may not be exactly what we'd like to hear, but in this strange created order of God, everyone brings something to the party, and we are lessened when we silence any contribution made in love with our arrogant comments made in fear.

We aren't as awesome as our best moment, and we aren't as lousy as our worst. We fall somewhere in the great via media with the rest of humanity. The balance and struggle is to know we are all equally loved by God, and to recognize that all of us are gifted with holy dignity. We don't get to step on someone else's neck or soul to make ourselves feel better.

We can, however, wear some smashing heels and lipstick. That and God's love can improve most days.


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