Friday, January 15, 2010

Be Yourself

Part of my ministry involves discussing the readings with the class that is preparing for Mass. Together we come up with a focus, which is done before Mass and may include a skit, a short reading, or a song. We then create petitions that tie in with the readings and the focus.

I enjoy doing this and try to relate at the kids' level. I still remember the misunderstandings I had as a small child and the difficulty I encountered when I reached the middle school years - the dreaded adolescence when you think everyone is noticing every imperfection about you. Your hair, your clothes, your weight, everything is of utmost importance.

I still remember the revelation I had when I realized, "If I think everyone is noticing everything about me, maybe everyone else thinks everyone is noticing everything about them, so really no one is noticing anything about me because everyone else is worried about what everyone else is noticing about them. So really no one is really noticing anything about anybody." Whoa! That's a mouthful.

The reason I bring this up is because on Tuesday, January 24, the 1st reading is about Saul being jealous of David. As I was discussing this with the 6th graders, I wanted them to know that when I was their age, there were classmates I wanted to be more like. "If I could just be (smarter, prettier, funnier, etc.)_ like ________, my life would be better." I could rattle off several of these statements. Adolescence is a difficult age when comparison may be the norm and unfortunately damaging. The sad part is that it continues into adulthood.

It's not easy, but I encouraged the students not to be jealous of others, to recognize their own gifts and talents, and to be the person God created them to be.

There's a story I heard about Rabbi Zusya, an 18th century Hasidic rabbi. He said to his disciples, "In the world to come I shall not be asked, 'Why were you not Moses?' I shall be asked, 'Why were you not Zusya?'"

The same can be asked of us. Why spend valuable time and energy being jealous and desiring to be more like someone else? Hopefully when the time comes, we will be able to answer, "Yes, God, I spent my time on earth being the person you created me to be. My desire on earth was to become more fully who I was called to be, not what someone else was called to be."

1 comment:

  1. Even in my late 30s, I cannot help comparing myself with others who appear to be more popular than I. I find that there is a lack of appreciation of myself and what God has in mind for me. I am still learning to trust God for who I am. I need to be reminded again and again that I am created in the way I am now.