The sounds of lively conversation are evident from the front door. When I enter, the sweet scent of cake fills my nose, and I inhale blissfully. I step into the kitchen to find my whole family—all nine of them, plus my grandparents. My brother and baby sister are chasing the colorful balloons bouncing around on the floor, and two of my other sisters are balanced precariously on chairs, hanging crepe paper streamers on the walls. My dad is setting food on the kitchen counter; the party pack from Raising Cane’s barely feeds us all, but I can’t wait to taste the tangy dipping sauce on my fries. My mom is telling my sister to smile for the camera, and Sis, standing in front of the huge, decorated sheet cake on the counter, obeys with an excited smile.
This is her day. She chose what we would eat for dinner, she selected the colors of the balloons and streamers, and she even got first dibs on the Wii earlier that day, a right wrested from my nine-year-old brother. She got to go out with Mom, just the two of them, and pick the perfect decorations, ice cream, and cake mix. As the whole family eventually gathers to sing “Happy Birthday” to her over her candlelit cake, she knows she is special and loved.
The next day, life goes back to normal. The balloons and streamers still hang over the kitchen table, but there is an argument over what we should eat for lunch. My brother makes it to the Wii first and plays for over an hour. Mom has to take the baby and maybe one or two other kids with her to the grocery store. There is no longer any special individual treatment; each of us is once again focused on the family as a whole.
Sometimes, even for those who don’t share a house with nine other people, we feel like the everyday scenario is all there is to life. We just… exist; we blend in with the masses and simply fulfill our stations in life without splendor. We feel as though we are just another cog in the clock of life—average and nothing special.
“Everyone’s special, Dash,” Mrs. Parr tells her discouraged son in The Incredibles, only to hear him mutter, “Which is just a way of saying no one is.”
Like Dash, each of us has something to offer the world—something special that no one else has. Think about that for a second. It may not be super speed, but every single person in the world has something completely unique about him or herself that separates him or her from everyone else. Every single one!
My friends and I recently decided to begin a video project we had wanted to do for a while. When it came time to decide how we were going to accomplish our goal, we quickly realized that all four of us had completely different ideas for how the project should look. It was annoying and frustrating to work through, but also amazing, for in that moment, four unique ideas—four approaches to the same problem—were simultaneously taking shape.
Yet while we often crave uniqueness, we also need cooperation. Our individual offerings must be combined to reach our goals. In the video example, each of us had ideas that would not work for one reason or another, but when one of us failed, another one stepped up with a better idea. That’s how ideas work. In fact, that’s how the Writing Center works. We, as consultants, have different strengths than our clients do, but when we work together and combine those strengths for a paper, the end result is a stronger paper. Even the Bible illustrates this principle in the book of Romans: “For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others” (Romans 12:4-5 NIV). Although the Church has one mission, each individual has a unique contribution to that effort.
So, if you’re feeling like an average Joe as you read this, and if you take nothing else away from this post, know this: you are loved, you are special, you are needed, and no one else can do what you do as you do it. Isn’t that awesome?
Written by Catherine
Image credit: http://www.darlynnsdanceunlimited.com/birthdaypic.jpg