Earlier this week, I was struck (not literally, but figuratively slapped, you might say) by the thought of my insignificance.
Maybe it’s just a guy thing, but I’m more inclined to believe it’s just a general human thing, to consider ourselves fairly significant from the deeply rooted perspective of ourselves.
But, forget about all of you; I’m talking about me.
You have to understand, that in my mind, I’m of paramount importance. I’m a big deal to me. No kidding.
I earnestly care about everything that matters to me, and sincerely believe that what matters to me is of great importance, in general.
I’m fairly well convinced that my opinions are right because as soon as I think they might not be right, I change them to what is right, so they’re always up to date in terms of what’s right.
I’m not saying I’m always right. I’m just saying that as soon as I realize that I might be slightly wrong, I change my mind and become right again, at least until the next rare moment when I’m notified of an error in my thinking. I mean, I do know that I’m not perfect because no one is perfect, except Jesus, right?
Furthermore, the things that worry me from time to time are truly important things to me. I think others should be worried about them, too. The problem is that other people have minds of their own, and they think their own worries are also important, even when they conflict with mine. So, I’m on a life-long mission to help people see the light and get all of us on the same worry page: mine.
They just don’t get it – those people.
But beyond all that, I’m relatively positive that the purpose that God has intended for my life – the reason that I’m here – is for the benefit of a great many people. For certain, it’s intended for the benefit of far more people than those who currently realize my value. So, I’m always recruiting converts to my value-recognition project. People need to know. They need to know that I’m available – even sent – to help them, and that I can help, if only given the opportunity (under terms and conditions that are acceptable to me, of course.)
If people could only realize how much closer I am to having everything right than say almost everyone else, then they would come seeking my help. But people can be so self-centered sometimes that it’s just sickening, isn’t it? Sheesh!
So, what I’m trying to say is that I’m always carrying around this expectancy for something big to happen that will change my stars and exalt me to the position in society which God has always intended me to have, in his perfect timing, of course. When he does that, I’ll be able to exert the positive influence in the world – not the whole world, of course, but the portion in which he’s destined me to have sway, a portion which I’ve always been certain is much greater than the current portion in which my potential has been only slightly realized – for which I’ve been destined.
It’s kind of like knowing you’re going to win the lottery, but not being completely sure which week the numbers will come together.
I wake up every morning with anticipation. Any day could be the day! Any day could be the day I break out and become all that I can be.
The mailman could bring the letter to my mailbox. My boss could ask for an urgent meeting. The perfect idea for that book or movie or business could pop unexpectedly into my head. A friend could call and need me to talk to another friend that is having trouble, and that friend could be famous, like the President, or some celebrity.
Any day, it could happen. Someday, it will. I’m sure of it.
At least, I was sure of it.
Then, earlier this week, as I said before, I was struck by a deviant thought. I was hit by a metaphorical bolt of lightning, if you will. The lightbulb of clarity flickered on just long enough for me to see my surroundings, and impose its haunting vision upon me.
I was just innocently driving along my typical route home from work, amidst a throng of thousands of other cars carrying what I suddenly realized were thousands of equally important people on their various ways to equally important places to do equally important things, while waiting for their equally important and eagerly awaited ships to come in.
I’m only one of 6-billion people on this planet. I’m a middle-aged male who lives in an insignificant American, declining, middle-class suburban neighborhood in an obscure town in a rural part of a middle state. I have a low-profile job in a giant corporation. I have a circle of friends who are pretty cool, but are not celebrities and not likely to become famous any time soon. I do some good things, occasionally, and some less good things more often, but generally, I don’t do much that’s extraordinary.
All this time, I’ve considered myself as a sort of covert operator in some grand scheme to save the world. An unknown, sacrificially biding my time and developing critical experience and societal tools, waiting in obscurity for the call to the bull-pen of my life, from the dugout where the General Manager of the world is looking for some relief in the bottom of the eighth.
Then that thought struck me. That heinous thought invaded me violently and vehemently.
I’m a little man, living in a little house, in a little town with a little family.
And the world is very big. Very, very big.
I’m like a drop of water falling into the ocean. Like drool dripping from the lips of a sassy five-year-old boy leaning over the railing of a cruise ship on the Pacific, making a tiny, inconsequential splash. Or something like that.
My potential impact will likely only ever be realized in my immediate surroundings and upon the people who are very close to me now – those within hugging, texting, phoning, emailing, blogging, praying distance.
The second thought that struck me, then, was that I should probably be more attentive to those folks: more caring, more compassionate, more of a servant, more humble, more willing. A little less focus on me, maybe.
The truth is: I think I need them more than they need me.
Ouch. That’ll leave a mark.