I am quite certain that this may come as a complete surprise to many of you. You probably don’t know it but I’m something of a quirky guy. I know, I know; you thought of me as calm, cool, and collected. I’m sorry to turn the world upside down with this revelation, but: I am not normal. But I’m learning to be okay with that.
The truth is I have spent my life knowing that I’m a round peg trying to fit into a square hole. I’ve always felt like I was an odd-ball or an outsider of sorts because I was different than everyone around me. I’ve wanted so badly to fit in. I’ve wanted so badly to be like everyone else. I’ve wanted so badly to be the David that everyone says they needed. I’ve wanted so badly to be loved for who I am. And to some degree I was able to do a little of that for a little while; but I can’t keep it up anymore.
You see, my brain doesn’t work like everyone else. I view things differently. I experience things differently. I value things differently. I love deeper. I soar higher. I fall harder. I hurt longer. I laugh louder. I cry more. I think too much. I rush in when I should hesitate and I hesitate when I should rush in. I get it wrong more times than I get it right and I’ve lost more than I ever gained. And, as you are learning right now, I am entirely too transparent at times. But that’s who I am; shouldn’t that be okay? Before you answer, let me give you a few examples of the chaos that is “Dave.”
First of all, color matters. No, I’m not talking about race and ethnicity. I’m talking about M&M’s. I spend the entire year avoiding M&M’s. I just don’t care for them – except for during the Easter season. I know you’re going to think I’m seriously off my rocker, but my brain is convinced that the pastel version of the sweet treat is so much better than the traditional colors. I think they are milder tasting and are much more pleasing to my discerning palate. Every year my wife and daughters would buy me bags of pastel colored Easter M&M’s to enjoy; every year until now.
To understand me a bit better, you also need to know it’s all about pie. No, I’m not talking about coconut cream, apple, or lemon meringue. And I’m certainly not talking about the numerical value that makes mathematics tick. I’m talking about pizza. It simply drives me batty when pizza is cut like a square. It seriously does. I am quite certain that the manna from heaven was shaped like a slice of pie. And what you may not know is that some ancient translations of the Bible tell us that when Jesus turned water into wine at the wedding in Cana, He also turned the square pizza slices into triangles. Everyone should take this one thing away from this blog today: Pizza tastes better when it is cut like a pie.
There’s another quirk that’s best summed up with these three words: Lost in translation. Yes I know that was the title of a hit movie in recent years. But I’m not talking about movies. I’m talking about the goofiness of my brain. They say that when you turn a shark over on his back he goes into something of a coma. I have that same response to anyone with an accent. You are probably thinking I am making something simple significant to entertain you today. That’s not true. If you want to see me become catatonic, try to get me to order in an ethnic restaurant. It won’t happen. And it goes even further. I want to travel to see ancient places around the world before I die. I just have one caveat. The native tongues of the places I visit have to be English. It’s miraculous that I can even live today in the south as there are few accents harder to understand than hillbilly slang. I truly am lost in translation.
The story is told of an old west legend by the name of Wild Bill Hickok. He was famous for a lot of things. He lived hard and died even harder. It was said that he would never sit with his back to the room or a door. He had to sit where he could see everything. He only made an exception once in his life. And that was when the bullet entered the back of his head. He didn’t make that mistake, or any other for that matter, again. It’s one of my oddest quirks. I’ve been laughed at and questioned more about this personality trait than any other. I cannot sit with my back to people or my back to a door. If you don’t believe me, invite me out to lunch and see.
I’ve tried to be lighthearted as I’ve shared today something that is so life altering to me. Truthfully, it’s been an exhausting experience living my life knowing that people don’t value my quirks. It’s heartbreaking to learn, time after time, that people don’t want to be in my life, or can’t love me because of the beautiful madness that makes me, “me.”
I cannot begin to number for you today the passionate and tear-filled prayers I’ve prayed in my lifetime as I have cried out to God to change me and make me like everyone else. I’ve begged God to make me normal so people would like me, and maybe even love me. I spent much of my life hoping to finally fit into that square hole. But God has chosen to ignore my pleas. I’m still quirky. I’m still odd. I’m still on the outside looking in.
Do you want to know something? There are many times I want to give up. There are days when I would give anything to trade different for normal. And there are even days that I wouldn’t change a thing. Sometimes it seems hopeless. Sometimes it seems exciting. Some days I’m liked and maybe even loved. There have been days when I was celebrated and there certainly were days that I was criticized.
As I launch into the uncharted waters of my future, I want to make a choice to live every day with the reminder of these famous words:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”