Pretty People

This post is part of the synchroblog, Down We Go.

We all have our prejudices. Personally, I am leery of people who appear to have it all together. Right now, I am recalling the proper, Christian Grandmother who kept the birth of her granddaughter secret because she was born before her mother was married.  I recall the homeschooling mother teaching her children Greek and the elderly man who wanted me to listen to tapes of my predecessor in the pastorate so I would learn how to deliver a proper expository sermon.

I shudder just a bit when I picture the beautiful looking family of seriously attractive people riddled by psychosis, grief, drug addiction, and general dysfunction, all of which, is never discussed. Yep, I know or knew all of these people. Worse yet, at least for a fleeting moment, I was intimidated by them, thinking that perhaps, I fell short because I did not live up to their standards.

Some part of me wanted to be one of pretty people with the pretty life and the pretty friends. I have wasted countless hours, many of them in what I called prayer, rehearsing, rehashing, and regurgitating my personal shortcomings or the times that I felt that I was victimized by someone else. I bemoaned the fact that my life wasn’t following the expectations that were superimposed upon it by me or by others. I resented living in the lowly place.

But there has always been a conflict within me in which a part of me wants to enjoy the good life and to have good life friends and another part of me that likes being the rebel, the outsider, and the person who talks about being messed up and allows other people the freedom to do the same.  I love the mountains and I really love beach front property, but I don’t get to spend much time there. Instead, I mostly find myself in the mire of the ditches and swamps or in the middle of those boring and endless Midwestern fields of corn and soy beans.

However, it is in the unpleasant places, the boring places, the painful places, and the giving places of life where I have found meaning. It is not glamorous. It is not easy. Sometimes, it literally stinks. Yet, in weathering a crisis or walking with a friend through a hard place or purposely reaching out to someone that our society has disregarded; there is amazing meaning.

There is something counter intuitive about how life works out. We say, I thought my life would be different. I never dreamed this would happen to me or I never thought I would be doing this or that I would have this perspective. Life has a way of getting turned on its ear. Many of the things we thought would add meaning to our lives wind up disappointing us and many of the things that have blindsided us helped to define us and give us purpose. Theories go out the window as reality takes over. It is at that very point that we begin to discover who God really is and who we really are.

It’s not pretty; it’s beautiful!

Here are the other participants, contributions:

Originally posted October 4, 2011.

About Glenn

Glenn Hager is a blogger, former newspaper columnist, and author of two books, An Irreligious Faith and Free Range Faith.
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