Believe it or not, his statement coincided with what I had stirring around in my brain. Not that prayer doesn't work, but I was trying to sort out why in the world we have to mess up so much to become something great.
I fielded Porter's concern by citing my own embarrassing behavior that morning, "Do you hear mama always praying to me a patient mom?"
He admitted he had.
"Well, do you think when I was in your face this morning yelling YOU'RE GONNA MAKE ME CRAZY, do you think that was very patient?" True story, ya'll. True story.
Porter's question represented a steady thought stream I've had over the last couple of years....why we have to become...instead of just come already being?
I've thought about it a lot. Why couldn't I just BE more things? I'm very willing to BE more things-- an AWESOME wife, an AMAZING mom, a creative decorator, a more emotional writer, a 7:30 min/mile runner, an inspiring teacher, a listening friend...
I would gladly BE any of these things.
But what am I willing to become?
I've found myself just sitting and watching my kids do ordinary things. Yet, I sit in absolute awe. I'm entirely captivated.
Kaia recently decided to take the plunge. Her skilled solo standing soon was too easy. She clumsily launched into step attempts, which resembled something closer to trying to fly. That mode was quickly chalked up as ineffective, and replaced by the more conventional mode of actually taking steps to move from point A to point B. After a month of charting the unknown, she accomplished what she'd only seen others do- she's now a walker.
So ordinary. Been done a million times over. In fact, a billion times over. Yet, I watched with keen fascination.
Dallin B and Porter enter the front door only to quickly exit through the back sliding doors. Before I see anything, I hear it. No, not the fighting. That will come later. I hear the steady thud of the ball hitting the court. I hear the tingy sound of the rim rejecting a shot. I can't hear the air swooshing when the ball perfectly passes through the net, but I know it's happening. These hours of practice on the court almost every day produce the noiseless victory.
Again, so ordinary. Boys all over the world have dedicated their early elementary years to preparing for the NBA. Yet, I listen with envy.
Because both scenarios illustrate such a willingness and dedication to becoming something. Even if it's just a walker. Or a fantastical basketball player. I'm fascinated by their willingness to put forth the necessary work and become something greater than they were.
These simple examples of becoming something greater physically illustrate the more abstract concept of both the need and the process of us becoming something more with our character.
Porter's desire, the desire to be "nice", is a very noble one, and one in which society as a whole would benefit from. So why can't we just all come being nice instead of coming with the need to become nice?
We've been given such a fascinating gift through being granted life. And this is the gift for US to create. We enter this world, essentially, as a blank canvas. Yes, there are some characteristics and strengths and weaknesses that are inherently ours. But, essentially, we come as a blank canvas. And our life becomes the opportunity to fill that empty work space as we may. As we CHOOSE. We are the creators of the details that make up our own unique self. We are our own piece of art. The creator and the art piece, all in one.
Why is that so important? This sense of us being a creator?
To help us understand it, we can think of the opposite. Think of walking into your own house- but it's one that you haven't decorated; they're not your pictures hanging on the wall. Or wearing a wardrobe that you've neither picked out nor represents your personal style. Think of all of a sudden being thrown into a family that you've never met before.
Even if it is an immaculate, edgy home, or all the best, most expensive clothes, or a family filled with spectacular individuals, they mean very little to you. Because they are not yours. There lacks a sense of ownership, and therefore a lack of connection, and very little personal pride.
The essence of "value" is absent.
I think that is the same effect that coming to Earth with a predetermined "being" would be. We would hold little value on the perfected characteristics that we beheld- our impossible patience, unrestricted love, boundless generosity, etc- because we wouldn't recognize them; they wouldn't feel like ours. We would feel no sense of ownership.
Becoming grants us with the opportunity to take ownership of the gift of life that has been given to us. And with that ownership, to live and experience life at a deeper, more fulfilling level. God's holding back of all these character gifts that I'm sure He would love for us to have, is an act of self restraint, I'd have to imagine.
Similar to the way that we, as parents, try to not give our children every little thing they ask for. It's a little backwards because the things they are asking for....we actually want them to have. But in an attempt to help them learn value, and appreciate ownership, we hold back. Because our greatest hope is that ownership will produce better long term results. That ownership will help them take better care of their "things".
This parenting book I've been trying to read for the last 9 months talks a lot about this idea of ownership and its effects. And although I've only made it through like 3 chapters, I've got enough gems to have made my $12 purchase worth it. In talking about this concept, it says, "If the perception of ownership can be given to children, a sense of responsibility will follow, and a sense of pride, and a sense of purpose."
I've felt this own achievement as I've come to own some valuable characteristics. I remember the time in my life when I really-- but REALLY- came to love myself.
Yosh and I were driving somewhere, and I remember practically singing, "Yosh, this was all worth it. These years of being internally tortured, it was all worth it. Because I now love myself. And no one can take that away." All these years, that's what was missing! I don't know why in the world it took me 29 years to become one that loves them self, but I was finally there. I told Yosh he could walk out on me, leaving me high and dry, and I would still know that I was enough. That I am good.
I, for the first time in my life, was consciously aware of my possession of both self-confidence and self-worth. The acquisition process was absolutely brutal. But I was a proud new owner.
And in the short couple of years since this all happened, I have acutely guarded that confidence and worth and been able to apply it so many different areas of my life.
Back to the original question....why we have to become...instead of just come already being?
Becoming is the way that we are granted true joy and happiness.
Being is more like coming to Earth as a servant to what someone else imagined you to be. Being simply governoed without choosing leaves all kinds of doors for hate and resentment WIDE open.
Becoming is the art of creating you- the most perfect, unique version of YOU.
Yes, I would love to just BE...an AWESOME wife, an AMAZING mom, a creative decorator, a more emotional writer, a 7:30 min/mile runner, an inspiring teacher, a listening friend...
But I wouldn't rather BE any of those things over being happy.
So dare to become....it's like having your cake and eating it too.
I don't know, these are just some things I've been thinking about.