Comparison

Funny how so many revelations come on my runs. I have started to call it "escaping into my think tank". Me. My shoes. Centennial Park - and God. We make a good team, I think. Long day at work ended w/ a 3 mile run at sunset. Refreshment to the mind. Lap one, I pass the stage and hear the actors practicing for the upcoming "Shakespeare in the Park". I hear,

"Good Ladies, let us depart.....This has been a wondrous evening!"

My mind goes back to the conversation last night with my sister who was trying to teach me to use my new blackberry. I am fighting it. Holding on to authenticity to the death. The sounds of Shakespeare intertwined with thoughts of PDAs don't mix in my mind. Two worlds colliding. Whatever happened to the marriage of the quill with the ink soaking into the paper of papyrus. Oh, to live in those days. I am longing for Walden's Pond lately..... escaping Chaos .... searching for Simplicity.

I continue running along with my thoughts as I pass an African American couple holding hands, laughing in the shadow of love. Her perfume overshadows my sweat, and I am thankful. Yet, admittedly, a bit envious. Envious of the "couple-ship" before me. The obvious love.

"I wonder.....what would it be like to be you right now?"

I run on - lost in Bebo Norman. Thinking about tears and why we are so afraid of them. I pass a homeless man in a wheelchair. Lame. He has pushed himself as far as possible to the sidewalk without touching the concrete. He and his tainted legs. He looks at me running past him as if to say,

"I wonder.....what would it be like to be you right now?"

I close my eyes for a few seconds to blink back the tears, almost - no, truly - feeling guilty for unknowingly flaunting my abilities in front of him. My heart hurts. Yet I run on.

Hearing the songs of music from "Dancing in the Park" in the background now. The pink sunset falls as a canvas for the backdrop of the Parthenon. Beautiful. I come up upon three precious grey haired ladies almost leaning into each other as if mesmerized. Standing. Silently. So still. As if the young people dancing before them are an aroma they are breathing in. As if to say,

"I wonder.....what would it be like to be your right now?"

Still running, my mind starts to look around at what is before me. A man with a dog looking at the ducks in the water...wondering what it would be like to have fins on his feet. The duck looking back at the dog wondering what it would be like to have such a beautiful coat. The water looking at the land wondering what it would be like to feel the grass growing up from its roots. The grass looking at the water wondering what if feels like to be fluid.

The push. The pull. The ebb. The flow.

The Cancer of Comparison. Surrounding us. Eating at us. Natural as it may be - it still kills.

A captivating man said recently, "When you are the most YOU - you become the person you were created most to be. It is then that we begin to FIT in our own SPOT.....The only way to break out of other people's lives it to go to God and ask Him who we are"

I agree. It is by comparing the fingerprints God has placed on us with others, wishing to be more like someone else, wanting to be better than, bigger than, skinnier than, richer than, or just as good as......that we actually begin to disrespect His creation. There is only one me. There is only one you. There will never ever in the history of the universe be, nor has there ever been another you. Be that person. Find that person. Live in that person to the death.

And I wonder. What would it be like if we starting only comparing ourselves to the person we saw in the mirror each day? Having our only wish as becoming the best version of that person we can be. The only goal of simply becoming more LIKE Him.....for the purpose of being used more BY Him.....having the hopes of only pleasing HIM. No one else. Just Him. Being healthy because we encompass His spirit. Being financially stable to be used of His service. Feeling pretty because He sees us as such. Measuring success merely by how well we are living His purpose. What would happen if our only measuring stick was the Cross and our only Mirror was His eyes? My, how tall we would stand! Not out of our own glory - but out of His Grace. Unique in our one-of- a kind mold. Separate and apart in our own extinct shadow. We are one. We are only.

Train whistles overhead as I return to my car. God appropriately seems to seal many of my "thought journeys" with a train whistle. He is awesome like that.

Drenched with the sweat of humidity. Needing a cool breeze, I reach for my key to turn on the car. Oh, yeah - no AC. I smile. And I think of Paul.

"I have learned in whatever situation I am in - to be content."

I have learned. Funny, he didn't say I have discovered. Nor was he hit on the head with an apple falling from a tree in Centennial Park. He learned. Day by day. Week by week. Year by year....He l e a r n e d contentment. Refusing to compare himself to others. Refusing to live in discontentment or in want. He learned. Priceless.

Lord - teach us. Help us to refuse to compare ourselves to anyone other than the unique creation you have made within us. Remind us to look into no one else's eyes for our worth save that of your own. And may we look deeply. And may we be filled.

For we are, uniquely, Yours.....

b