Sunday, May 02, 2010

Wisdom from Strangers

So I've had a phrase running through my mind off and on since wednesday night: "Comparison is the thief of Joy."

Jake and I went to see Over the Rhine at the Evanston S.P.A.C.E. last wednesday, one of my favorite venues in the area (realized I've been there three times before for Peter Mulvey x2 and David Wilcox). It's a great little back room with beautiful exposed brick and limited seating, which means the shows are personal and intimate. I love that I can see facial expressions and feel the movement of sound through the wood floor. It's small and it's wonderful.
It was a great show.

I don't know the name of the female member of the band but she's cool. I think we could be friends if we ever had the chance. I'm pretty sure she sees the world in story/song and I resonate with the "story" part of that, which is probably why I appreciate their style of music and composition so much. Hmm. Anyway, they're older now but she recently got her first tattoo: "comparison is the thief of joy." Yes, for a tattoo I find it a little cheesy but what the heck, most tattoos are some form of cheesy cliche in their own way, right? I tend to think so.
She only mentioned it in passing and i think the phrase is rather profound, whether or not you decide to ink yourself with it. How easily we fall prey to the task of comparing ourselves to others. Seriously. How often? All the time. We are an insecure people, unsure of ourselves with others and even unsure of ourselves before God. But I've been thinking about confidence, joy, and the definitive self-worth that each of us possesses. I'm thinking again today of human flourishing and what it means to be 1. made in the image of God and 2. conformed to the image of Christ.

Another small bit of wisdom from a stranger came in the form of a phrase spoken this morning in church: "We are formed by the habits we live." I've been doing some renewed thinking/praying about the life I live--the way I live it and with whom I live it. It matters, you know, how and with whom you live life. I'm realizing that many of the very significant figures in my life--those friends who have eternally impacted me, continue to speak into my soul and shape my life--are far away from me. It's hard, sometimes, to realize that.

Distance is hard. I am grateful, though, that mutual forming/shaping can happen from a distance and so we continue to share life, we just have to be a little more creative and intentional. I love that I can shoot out an email, send a quick text, or write a real letter asking for prayer, sharing life's questions, wondering faith's tensions, and exploring today's joys and sorrows. Community and human flourishing. We become more and more aware as we live, I think, that there is a certain vibrancy that embeds our existence when we share it truthfully/wholly with others. To be authentically human is to be conformed to the image of Christ. We are most alive when we are committed to His kingdom "charter." God himself lives in community--a threefold name and life.

I sort of feel like I'm babbling now. Sigh. I will stop. Maybe some of that makes sense. But maybe it doesn't. Oh well. I need to get homework done. This week is going to be crazy. We got the keys to the apartment yesterday so on top of everything else we will be taking loads of stuff over there...oh goodness, these busy, busy days. But they are so good. Oh so good. I am very grateful for these busy good days :)

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