“It slices, it dices, it makes julienne fries!”
Those of us of “a certain age” remember Ron Popeil’s immortal words, proclaiming the wonders of the “Veg-o-Matic.” And of course, there was always the tag line which has since infiltrated almost every infomercial — “But wait! There’s more!”
I had an experience on my trip to Chicago that brought me face to face with that notion of “more.” I wrote HERE about the joy of working on my final project — a coat of arms to represent my “kingdom.” That experience was immensely deep and joyous, and I was excited to bring both versions with me to share with my small group. While I am pleased with the work I was able to do with colored pencils, scissors, and glue — especially given my phobia of art projects — I am still in awe of the way my son, Caleb, was able to take my ideas and create art that shines! (His graphics Facebook page is HERE. You can see the coat of arms he created for himself, too! Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in having him help you create something!)
To explain everything in the project would make for a way-too-long blog post. Suffice it to say, I thought it was complete, and I had many stories behind each symbol, phrase, and choices of colors and jewels. (For example, pearls represent suffering and so they are on the top of the crown, moving toward the cross, where all suffering was taken….)
In the teaching time, Dan told us to be flexible with our coats of arms, that they aren’t meant to be static and will change over time, perhaps even over the course of the weekend. I tucked that notion away for safekeeping, but perhaps a bit too far away.
My small group’s response to my sharing was unnerving. They wanted more. MORE??? I fought them on it. I shed tears. I was not understanding their what-felt-like-criticism and the seeming dissatisfaction with what I was presenting.
That night, I met with a friend for dinner who listened to my confusion/anger/hurt and she asked to look at my project. Her response?
“Yeah, I want to see more of you on here, too. My group has been telling me the same thing, so you’re not alone.”
Though everything on there is representative of very deep, meaningful things in my life and how I interface with the world, what drives my heart and ministry, etc., I slowly began to understand it was too compact and apparently too serious for someone as playful as I can be. I do have other passions/interests/motivators in my life and my group wanted to see a fuller representation of ALL of me, not just ministry. Maybe I misunderstood the assignment. Or maybe I thought the other things weren’t important or valid enough to put on there. Was I trying to hide my true self or did I just interpret the assignment differently? I don’t have an easy answer. But I was challenged…relentlessly.
And it was GOOD.
So this is now in flux. I’m still going to hang it on my wall as a reminder of the time and all the lessons learned, and to celebrate the joy of creating something with my son…and the blessing of being able share his talents with the entire cohort, not just my small group. (The sound of the collective gasp in the room when I unveiled his rendition will stay with me for a loooong time!)
At some point I need to get back to the drawing board and figure out how to add my family to the picture…and to represent singing in a larger way…and to increase the proportion of Paris (one French phrase isn’t cutting it)…and to somehow feature my passion for cooking/food/nourishing — maybe a Le Creuset pot in the middle? And let’s not forget a large splash of humor/playfulness — perhaps a picture of Dweezil? Because all of those things are definitely a big part of my life and heart and I need to celebrate those things fully, as God-gifts, not just minor interests that pale in comparison to the cross. (After all, what could possibly compare to THAT?!)
I think I’m starting to understand. In hindsight it was a beautiful thing to have my friend and my small group tell me in various ways, “We see more in you and we want you to celebrate ALL of who you are!” What an amazing gift to be that loved.
But wait…there’s MORE!!!