A List Of Your Awesomeness
This weekend I went to a birthday celebration. The man who was being honored is a ballroom dancer, and so the party was filled with other dancers. Oh my, the dancing was so lovely, I watched like I was at the ballet. And I need to take some dance lessons this year!
But something else that was lovely also occurred.
I sat at a table with a woman I have met a few times. She is 80 years old, a classmate of the birthday “boy.”
AnnaMae is an avid reader, and she was delighted to tell me that she is currently reading my first book, JUST WHAT I ALWAYS WANTED. She said this with an embarrassed smile – just like you might approach a “real” author – the kind you might sheepishly ask for an autograph from. It was rather enjoyable to say the least – especially since I was feeling very humble about my inability to dance. But although pleasant, this was not the other lovely event.
With so many talented people in attendance, it’s readily apparent that many people are gifted. We should enjoy their gifts. And while not diminishing our own, recognize that no one is more special than anyone else.
We are all unique – in our talent, experiences, and nature.
And AnnaMae is no exception. For she told me a small fact about herself that was actually not a small thing at all. It amazed me.
AnnaMae loved to read from the time she was a very little girl. And way back then, she kept a list of every book she read.
And the habit stuck. She possesses a wondrous list – a list of every book (and they are many) she ever read. From the time she started to read until today. That must be 75 years in the making, that list. I imagine a file cabinet, paint chipped but well-dusted, just full of her list of books! Titles and authors and dates. Can you imagine?
I hope there is such a thing as reincarnation, because I would like to keep a list like that.
There are so many singular things we do – what makes us “us” – I am overwhelmed this week by the idea of Life as a list of our experiences. And there are so many! Even introverts or the very lonely (which is not the same thing) have boundless small experiences that make them who they are.
Imagine how long your list is:
Every class you ever took and every teacher who ever taught you.
Every trip to the beach. Every lake you ever visited.
Every song you ever heard.
Every dog you ever petted.
Every baby you ever held in your arms.
Every ice cream cone you ever bought.
Every movie you ever saw… and every one that made you cry.
Every person who ever said to you, “I love you.” Every person you ever said “I love you” to.
Every joke you ever heard.
Every time you signed your name. How many times in your life do you affirm who you are?
Every flower you ever planted.
Every street you ever lived on. Every town.
Every bit of clothes and shoes and furniture and beautiful things you bought.
Every car you ever owned. Every one you ever rode in.
Every wedding you ever attended.
Every walk in the snow.
I could go on and on.
The list of our awesomeness is endless.
Never tell me you’ve had a boring life.
I have reprinted this before, but it’s appropriate, I think, to do it again. Here’s a small poem I wrote after my father died. He had his own list.