"Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don't be impressed with yourself. Don't compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life." (Galatians 6:4, The Message)
This past week has marked two very momentous occasions in our family, one for each boy.
First, Aquaman finally took off and began to swim on his own.
And second, The Dude left a stinky little present in his new Cars potty.
One happened a bit later than I had originally anticipated, and one quite a bit sooner.
One was the result of years of careful practice and countless hours of acclimation. The other seemed to happen quite by accident, and a touch of good luck.
Both were equally exciting.
Watching our boys proudly entering these new stages in their own time was such a wonderful reminder of something that JT and I have been pondering a lot lately:
How beautifully different we have all been created, and how wasteful it is to make life's most precious moments a competition through comparison.
The only benefit I have found in comparison is the profound respect and awe in recognizing the intricately planned way that we have been formed by our Creator to fulfill a purpose that only we can accomplish in this world.
"For we are God's Workmanship. Created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which He prepared in advance for us to do." -Ephesians 2:10
Oh, and one of my very favorite verses, Psalm 139:16 which is written on a frame that wraps around a photo of Aquaman at 11 weeks gestation.
"Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in
Your book before one of them came to be."
We all struggle with comparing ourselves to others. JT, even though he is passionate and gifted in his current work, often feels the conviction that he should be wearing a suit and tie to work like his father did.
I myself wish I was more "girly", less clumsy, and not so awkward in social situations.
And, I have to admit, there have been days we've both looked in envy at friends and family whose children emerge from the womb with pleasant expressions, sleep through the night before they're 2.5, and like to sit and color for fun.
But those are only on the days that I've lost my perspective. When I really get down closer and look, all I can do is exhale praise at the perfection of His will.
"Will the clay say to the potter, 'What are you doing?' Or the thing you are making
say, 'He has no hands'?"
JT's body was made to perform tasks that most of us could only shudder at. His heart has adapted to his level of aerobic activity so acutely by expanding and slowing that it has become significantly more efficient for his labor. And that's only physically. Most things that I take for granted have never come easily to my husband, and these have only served to widen and strengthen his metaphorical heart and his mind, making him a better husband, father, and friend.
Aquaman with his intensity and sensitivity and ability to articulate (at full volume, since the day he was born), has made me stand back in wonder at how he could have emerged from my body. He is fearful and hesitant to warm up to many things, and yet he faces them: daily, bravely and fiercely, albiet slowly. He looks often for reassurance, but is very little impressed with the feats of others as compared to himself. He does not see others as the competition (unless he is in a race, then lookout, it might get dirty). They are simply them. And he is Aquaman. Born to march through life in his own firm direction. It is a graceful dance learning to be his mother. The highly sensitive and strongly willed. I want him to have a heart that accepts counsel, but have no desire to pressure him into being like everybody else.
We are just getting to know The Dude, though his days have been planned out since the beginning of time; and have found him to be delightful and exhausting. He is tough and scrappy, and much like his father he never stops moving. Though he is not afraid of being submerged under water or falling from great heights, he has an irrational level of separation anxiety. He also has a shocking amount of grit and determination for one so small. He frequently wears a furrowed brow that can change in an instant to a grin that is capable of turning my whole day around.
And then there's me.
I can never find my car keys, my hair is always a mess, and sometimes I get really panicky about things that don't matter at all. But I am loyal and sympathetic, and quick to learn new things with my mind though not my hands. I work hard, both at work and at home, and love even harder.
And so we celebrate the victories, and the milestones, and the differences. We admire the child who faces his fears and discomforts and sets out on his own after careful practice as much as we do the toddler who, on impulse, finds success on the potty. We thank God for the CEOs and Presidents, and for the EMTs and construction workers. For the stay at home mom, and for the mom who goes to work.
So many differences, but one thing the same: In being fully who we were made to be, we bring glory to One God.