Sunday, April 23, 2006

Cheering Alone

Until I was 41, this pretty much had been my life...

I was a strange little kid. When I was 7, I'd cry happy tears during the reunions on Truth or Consenquences and This Is Your Life. I played classical music on my transistor radio while my friends played rock and roll. I collected blue-bellied lizards while the other girls collected Kiddles and bracelets. My family loved stream-lined, brand new houses and I loved leaning, paintless-brown barns in the middle of wheat fields.

As a teenager, I read Jane Eyre while my friends read Jaws and I loved watching Carousel while everyone at school talked about American Graffiti. I adored the people who my family barely tolerated. I hated college while everyone else reveled in it. My friends loved loud parties and I loved quiet heart-talks on the seashore.

As a young wife, I wanted to be the best little homemaker on Earth while other wives all went back to school and then got jobs. I wanted to spend time with my young, blonde daughter while my friends schemed each week to get babysitters as often as they could. I read dusty old books and Gladys Taber, (who nobody had even heard of) and I watched the tv shows no one else could stand. I spent hours in the kitchen and at the sewing machine while everyone else went out and bought ready-made.

I'm skipping a lot of other examples, but well, you get the idea, I'm sure.

I say this went on till I was 41 because it was then that I went online. And finally--finally!-- I found all those people I'd imagined in my head since I was a child. Finally I discovered that yes! There are other people out there like me... people who love best the same things I do. And finally I stopped feeling so odd, so unusual, as though I'd dropped down from a planet in the night sky.

But you know? I'm glad I had those decades of feeling as though I was cheering all alone in a huge, silent coliseum. Something happens when, over and over, you must stand alone. You are forced to make decisions. Either you give-up who you really are and do what everyone else does while pretending you love what they love, or you go ahead and be you--even if it often means being you, alone.

And God can use people who have grown-up standing alone. In today's world, especially, those who have exercised their 'standing alone muscles' will, most likely, be left standing at the end when still standing matters. Maybe that's the reason most folks aren't born into a big round nest of people exactly like themselves. Sure it's nice to have others beside us, helping us stand strong, yet on that Very Last Day, each of us will stand alone before God and perhaps we'll find that, all along, all those years, He was preparing us for that very day--and we knew it not.

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