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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Square Pegs

The last few days I have been reading some of your struggles and conflicts concerning your goals, what you should do, shouldn’t do, what is priority, what isn’t, how to find balance, when drive has been put in overdrive and how to slow down and still move forward at the proper pace.  I have dealt with all these same issues.  We grow up trying to be what people expect us to be, what society says we should be and in the middle of it try to be what we want to be and find what we long to do.  The thing is, people with a big dream and clear vision are not cookie cutter people.  Life just isn’t that simple nor should it be! I had a friend in college who had endured a painful divorce after a destructive time in his life and came to college to pursue his ex-wife who was enrolled there.  He was determined to win her back. He was not your average “Joe”.  Our college was in the hills of Tennessee, and although we had a very diverse student population, “southerners” were the majority.  My friend was anything but a southerner.  He was a bleach blonde, hazel-eyed west coast boy that wore flip-flops even on a snowy Tennessee day.  He cruised through campus in his fancy car flashing his self-absorbing smile.  After one explosive encounter between him and this southern girl, we dropped our “battle of the wills” and became unlikely friends.   We were more alike than we cared to admit!  Time passed and he still had not been able to win over his ex-wife’s heart.  One day he was adamant about finding answers.  He wanted God to bring his wife back to him.  He asked us to carry him to the mountains. Now in the fall it could be quite cold in those Tennessee hills. He was going to camp near the lake until he “heard from God”.  He took only a tent, a bedroll and his Bible and vowed to fast until something happened.  We all tried to talk him out of it, but he was determined. So we left our stubborn friend on a cold Tennessee night, with only the soft glow of the moon breaking up the dark eerie sky as owls hooted and imagination lurked behind every tree.  The next afternoon we received a phone call from a pay phone a few miles outside of the lake campsite.  Not to my surprise, it was my friend.  “I’ve heard all I need to hear.  I am cold and I am hungry.  COME GET ME!”  We jumped in the jeep and headed towards the mountain.  He was waiting humbly outside a store several miles from the campground.  This was before the days of cell phones and he had walked all this way to find a phone!  We laughed at him because this was so typical of the California “dreamer”!  But the rest of his story is that he did win that beautiful girl back.  He had come to campus as a “square peg” that would never fit in a “round hole”. I related to him so well. I had spent many years trying to fit my “square” self into a round hole! To quote a line from my favorite movie Sabrina, “I had to escape. And I did, to ‘Paris’. And I wrote in my stupid journal and I cut my stupid hair and I came back stupider than ever.”

I am so glad that those of us on this journey are learning to celebrate our uniqueness. You have something to offer your world that no one else can offer.  It is so important to tune out the voices around you, to let go of the notion that one person has the market cornered on how life should be, and instead listen to your heart on when to run, when to walk, when to dance, when to sit still, and in it all keep reaching for the stars. This is your journey to pursue as only you can.