January 29, 2009

Everybody Else

"To be nobody but myself, in a world which is doing its best night and day to make me everybody else, means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight and never stop fighting." - e.e. cummings

"O LORD, you have searched me and known me....I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. " - Psalm 139:1, 14a

e.e. cummings ought to know. Here's a poet with no capital letters in his name. Right off the bat, he claims his truth: I am not everybody else.

I am struck by the claim that the world is doing its damndest to make sure I fail in the quest for integrity. It affirms my experience. My Self is a dark threat to the Powers of This World. Even in the realm of spirituality, there is the strong tug of pantheism (God is everything) and panentheism (God is in everything), which ultimately compresses all individuality into a cosmic soup.

In his Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis's devils want to consume the souls they lead to hell -- to destroy their individuality.

That's not what the God of the Bible has to say. No, he has counted every hair on my head. He knit me in my mother's womb. Me, in my mother's womb. He affirms that there is a uniqueness to me, intended by my creator.

Yet, living in the world, I feel pushed and pulled on the inside and the outside to be what someone else, or even my moralistic, judgmental self, thinks I ought to be. As if what God created isn't enough. That's how I so often feel -- like I'm not enough.

I think one of the biggest lies is that there is a "normal" to which "most people" can or should or do conform. I'm not normal. Who is? What does that even mean? I don't know. What I'm learning is that, in my very best moments, I know, maybe, a tiny fraction of the person God has created me to be. I need to go inside and find the Spirit of Christ, and find the "me" who He redeems and recreates, and live from there. I'm not everybody else.

1 comment:

  1. *love* ee cummings take on this! Each moment of every day offers opportunity to choose integrity... or sell-out... like the old song goes, "Only by Grace can we enter, only by Grace can we stand... Not by human endeavor, but by the Blood of the Lamb"!