When I was a little girl, I always asked this question: “What is it like to be you?”
Somewhere, early in my journey on this spiraling, dancing, globe of a planet, I realized my life was mine alone. And yours is yours. Somehow I understood each life — yours and mine — is a note in the music of God’s creation. We need each other. I think that’s what I was realizing, very early on.
And so, I wanted to know, “What is it like to be you?”
I wanted to know, right in that instant, exactly what it felt like to be living your life in your skin from the seat where you planted the pockets of your Levi’s 501 jeans. I remember asking my mom, over and over again, “Mom, what is it like to be you? No. Really, really you. What is it like?” One day, worn out by my tireless inquisition, my mom said to me, “You know, you should ask your teacher that question.”
So, the very next day, I waited until all my classmates filed out of the classroom and onto the playground for recess, and I stood next to my teacher’s desk at the front of the classroom and in front of the chalkboard covering the front wall of our room and I asked my teacher, “What is it like to be you?”
I remember my teacher doing her best to answer. Teachers are beautiful people, walking around with an incredible desire to help — to provide the answer. My fourth grade teacher was no different. I can’t tell you what she said, because, quite honestly, what she said wasn’t scratching where I was itching. What I can tell you is that’s the precise moment — my teacher struggling to answer a question for which there really is no answer — I realized no one can fully articulate their existence in a moment-by-moment, blow-by-blow running account like the ticker at the bottom of a television screen.
Our lives are so much more than that. Your life is spectacular. Don’t miss it, wishing you had someone else’s. And don’t miss the beauty of playing your one note in the symphony of God’s creation.
No one will ever be able to articulate your presence here the way you can. God isn’t into mass production. You are a treasure — the only you there will ever be. We need each other, just the way God made us.
Play your note. Tell your story. Dance your dance. Paint your canvas. Unlock scientific mysteries. Get dinner on the table. Tuck the children in bed. Run a mile on the treadmill or along the beach. Create beautiful code. Build a kitchen table. Paint a wall. Plant the pockets of your Levi’s 501 jeans in a deck chair or at the meeting in the corporate board room. Only you will ever do it the way you do it.
And the way you do it is magnificent.