Today I’ve felt a bit like a puzzle piece that just doesn’t quite know where to fit. You know, the kind of piece that you just try to push and contort as best you can to make it fit into that empty space, but it just doesn’t quite work. The more I’ve thought about it, for most of my life that’s how I’ve felt. Just a bit off. Just a bit different. I’ve almost never been one to just “fit the mold”. I haven’t been in many inside circles, or if I have made my way into one it’s been as “the exception to the rule” in one way or another. When I was little I never went to the same school as most of the other kids. As a pre-teen, while all my friends were listening to Paula Abdul (she used to sing, for all you young ‘uns out there) or New Kids on the Block, I was listening to…my dad’s Huey Lewis & the News tape (which rocked, by the way) or Radio AAHS or Steven Curtis Chapman…or Steve & Annie Chapman (that was my mom’s tape). When I took ice skating lessons in elementary school, I was the only 4th grader in a class of Kindergartners (it was all so I could be in a skating show…there’s another blog there for another day). When it came to my involvement with organized sports…let’s just say I definitely didn’t fit in. I didn’t end up graduating with the friends I thought I would. I didn’t go to the same kinds of colleges that most of my friends did. I didn’t really fall into any particular group of friends in college, though some invited me, and some probably would have been really good friends to go a little deeper with instead of staying as surfacy as I did. There are probably about 100 other ways that I didn’t fit the mold – some of them were by my choice, some of them were not…and for all of the ways that were by my choice, some I regret, some I don’t at all.
I feel like the times in my life when I’ve fit the status quo have been rare.
In retrospect, however, I am grateful for so much of it, because…I’m used to it. Really, it’s a pattern that has not changed. I still find myself feeling different. When it comes to church, we’re the ones trying to think like “revolutionaries” and are asking a lot of questions…(not about the faith, but about the methods, traditions, etc.). And while the reception to the questions has been much more welcoming than in previous church experiences, we’re definitely not the norm. When it comes to friendships, that’s changing shape, especially as we’re adjusting to parenthood (but even before). We’re homebodies to begin with, and now we’re definitely the ones who aren’t able to come to as much stuff or stay out as late. And when it comes to TV…we still watch Survivor! (who does that?!)
And sometimes I’m able to contort myself into that empty puzzle space, but what almost always happens is that after a few moments of “fitting in”, something happens to pop me right out, and my different-ness is exposed.
When it comes to a lot of things, I just feel…DIFFERENT!
And I know in my head that even though sometimes being different can be the result of selfishness (“I’d rather stay home and watch TV tonight than help you through your problem”), different is often also good. That Jesus probably felt way more different than I ever do. That we’re not supposed to fit the mold (of the world’s way of thinking, at least).
Some days it’s just sort of hard, though, and I feel like it would be nice to just blissfully meld into the status quo.
Some days I’m not sure why I have to be so different or what I’m supposed to do with it.
Some days I feel like it would just be sort of nice to be the same.
This lyric has been running through my head today (and it’s source itself proves I am different – who quotes this cheesy song anymore?!):
“Hear me asking/where do I belong…”
-Place in this World, Michael W. Smith, ca. 1991!
Anyone else ever feel different?