Tuesday, September 28, 2010

On success, and other random ideas

I found out that one of my oldest childhood friends just won the genius grant from the MacArthur Foundation. I am really happy for him. This is a kid who knew what he wanted to be from the time I can remember. In 8th grade he was practicing his calligraphy during math class.

When you hear news like this, inevitably, such a thing invites you to a bit of introspection. It is pretty clear that I am never going to win a MacArthur grant. (Even if they DID give them out for things like being a mom, running a little non-profit or going to Africa because nothing but God himself brings you the kind of joy that a street party in Mali does....)

Mine is not a life of superlatives. I have grown content with mediocrity.

At one point I learned that many years before, when I was heading to high school, I was offered a shot at a private boarding school. I never knew this at the time. My parents, through a series of strange decisions, chose to send me, instead, to public school... and later to an alternative high school. I remember when I first discovered this missed opportunity, I imagined what life would have been like had I gone to the private school. Different friends. Different college. Different path altogether. I am quite sure that the opportunities would have been different, too. Maybe I would have had a bigger sense of the success drive if I was surrounded by over achievers. Maybe I would have gone on to do something that the world sees as significant.

As it is, I went to an ok high school, a public college and a series of lower level management positions in the corporate world until bagging it all to have kids.

Not the stuff of fellowships.

But eventually, the stuff of happiness. Somehow my path lead me to find Jesus, in whom I find joy. I love my husband and my kids. I cherish my friends more than can say. I now have a job that takes me to the front lines of my faith on a daily basis. And I have come face to face with the reality that I am never likely to do anything of much significance except love God with all my heart and soul and mind, and love my neighbor as myself.

And play my drum at soccer games.

And dance until I throw up.

And hug my kids and kiss my man and thank God that even though I am a half assed goofball, He loves me anyway.

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