A friend and I were catching up over pizza. She enthusiastically described plans for a family trip “out West” this summer as well as plans for two of her children to travel in Southeast Asia for a month. I told her that I was excited about her family’s adventures. Then, I confessed, “I’m not the adventurous type. I don’t long to travel and have startlingly new experiences in new places. I guess I am too much of an introvert.”
That night I picked up a book I’ve had on hold at the library for months, thrilled to finally rejoin one of my favorite authors in a new adventure. It was then that I realized that while I don’t have an adventurous body, I do have an adventurous mind. I have more than 100 books on my very long “to read” list – fiction, non-fiction, biography and memoir. The TV programs I watch teach me about the worlds of science, politics, and or history or I view stories (true or fictional) about people who are different from me. I constantly insert into conversations stories I hear on NPR – such as the interview with scientists who are training bees to count (!) and to learn to perform for rewards. (Not all my stories excite everyone else as much as they do me, but the bee story was a definite winner!) So . . . bring on this kind of adventure.
As I thought about my new definition of myself, I realized that I have felt guilty about and diminished by my unadventurous spirit. I have mostly come to terms with my introverted nature, but this was a new understanding. I thought about how often we all judge ourselves and come up wanting because we aren’t like somebody else – or even anybody else. Instead of accepting the way God created us and sharing that person with the world, we look around and wonder how to be come more like someone we admire.
I’m in the middle of a “memoir” by a quirky and “one-of-a-kind” just-turned-30 actress. It is clever and fascinating and very well written, but so far it mostly reveals how hard she has worked since the age of 4 to re-make herself into someone else’s image. She celebrates (or sarcastically jokes about) her elaborate experiments to fit in. But I am sad that so far she doesn’t accept who she really is. I’m hoping that at the end of book she can say, “I’m not like everyone else, but I’m okay with that.”
If I could, I would give her a hug and share these thoughts from Max Lucado: “If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it. If He had a wallet, your photo would be in it. He sends you flowers every spring and a sunrise every morning . . . Face it, friend. He is crazy about you! ”