Entry Written on Saturday, April 5, 2008…

“Blank Stares and Blank Pages”

When I was younger, perhaps at the age of 4 or 5 and ending sometime around when I was 9 or so, I would have these moments of pure conviction that I must have been born into the wrong life. Everything was so ordinary. And well, I obviously couldn’t be. No, I was meant to be a heroine somewhere in some distant land. I had to have some special untapped superpower. Or better yet, I was an amazing mythological creature that happened to be stuck in a human’s body. In attempting to realize my full mystical potential I caused some chaos and mainly ended up looking entirely ridiculous. The casualties of my efforts to become the great heroine I was meant to be included my mother’s glass coffee table and a few of her favorite vases. I spent many long afternoons wearing butterfly printed tights while leaping off my parent’s bed in a fervent attempt to fly (apparently the butterfly tights were supposed to help somehow.) The closest I ever came to accomplishing these lofty goals of mine was when I managed to convince a few of my cousins that I was, indeed, a mermaid and that I needed to be brought back to the sea. Eventually they all got tired of trying to help me plan my return to my supposed native habitat.

At the age of ten I realized the error of my ways. Fairytales with princesses who go off and save the day took their rightful place as stories. But still, I couldn’t just be an ordinary fifth grader who just went to school everyday and did her homework and participated in the science fair (my entries were pretty good too.) My solution came in science class one day when we started the unit on space. I was going to become an astronaut! It made perfect sense: I didn’t belong here, so obviously I belonged up there somewhere. When I pitched the idea to my parents they laughed at me and then went “Honey, you’re going to be a doctor.” (A little over a decade later they had to settle for law school when they realized that I was never going to make it through med school if the sight of a needle induced near hysteria and fainting spells every time I had to encounter one. Let’s just say I make babies look brave in the face of an oncoming shot of any sort.)

Yet, the feeling persisted. I spent the following years agonizing with this feeling that could really only be described as “non-belonging.” The career plans changed a million times over but each time they always had one end goal–to somehow get out of “here.” One day, probably when I was 15 or 16, when I was having a particularly hard time with this little predicament of mine, I decided to pitch a new career idea to my dad. He sat there and listened to me for a few minutes and then asked why on earth I wanted to be an archaeologist. I frowned and began to repeat my speech about how great it would be to work with artifacts and study human history but he stopped me and asked, “Why do you want to go so far away?” and without thinking I blurted out “Because I just don’t think I belong here.” When I realized just how awful that sounded, I tried to explain myself but he stopped me again.

Then he asked me a question that has stuck with me till this very day: “Honey, if you felt like you belonged here, why would you ever want to be in heaven with God?” My desire to reach something higher than my surroundings, to literally “go up there,” began to make sense. The feeling was and still is simply motivation to keep reaching my hands and heart up toward heaven, to our Father in heaven. With this new understanding I began to face the challenge set before me. I had to find the extraordinary in the everyday ordinary in order to appreciate the wonders of the world yet remain focused on reaching beyond it. In other words, I began to search for the glory of God in all that He created so I did not become careless when it came to my surroundings and those around me. I needed to strike a balance of appreciation and understanding– seeing the glory in what seems to be so ordinary in order to gain a far deeper awareness of what I constantly keep reaching for and yearning to grasp. I strive to see the depth in a blank stare and the words on a blank page because sometimes that’s all that seems to be around.