My friend Linda went to a dude ranch in Montana, by herself, for a vacation...on purpose. This is what she wanted to do for her 40th birthday celebration. She went by herself because her husband did not choose to spend his vacation with cattle. So he held down the fort at home with their 3 kids and sent her with his blessing. She had a blast! She slept in a cabin that she shared, at least some of the time, with a pack rat. Apparently, there actually is an animal named a pack rat...who knew? Anyway, she camped out a few of the nights and woke up to the refreshing temperature of 22 degrees. But her favorite thing, the thing she particularly enjoyed was the cow pinning. Now, if you knew Linda, you would really enjoy this picture as she is about 5 feet tall and probably doesn't weigh 90 lbs. COW Pinning! I don't even know if I am spelling that right. I had to ask her to repeat the exact phrase several times. So my small friend Linda went to Montana on a vacation by herself, slept with rats, rode horses, and pinned cows and had the time of her life. So why am I telling you this? Because I am jealous!
Let me be quite clear that I am not one bit jealous of the actual vacation. In my wildest dreams, I have never wanted to chase a cow. However, I have wanted to BE the kind of girl who wanted to do adventurous things like that; you know, parachute, climb mountains, bike through the Himalayas, etc. In theory, I like the IDEA of wanting to go to Montana and pin cows. I think she is TOTALLY cool for following through on her dream and doing it. She is now officially added to my "I want to be more like_____when I grow up" list. (She did, by the way, actually ask several of us if we would be interested in accompanying her on this trip...I told her that I don't go places where I can't plug in my hot rollers.) I have also wanted to be the type of person who runs marathons and likes to exercise...like my sister. I exercise some because I want to be able to garden when I am old and because I hate it when my pants are too tight....certainly not because I LIKE it. As a matter of fact, gardening is about as physically adventurous as I get (and that's only because I get the very girly-girl payoff of flowers at the end of the process.)
So even though I might want to be an athletic, adventurous, sailboat-sailing, mountain-biking, dig my own latrine, cow-pinning gal, that is just not who I am. I am someone quite different. But here is the thing that I am learning; for whatever reason, God made me like this. Even though I am totally uncoordinated and often get tangled up in phone cords (less so since the invention of cordless phones) He gave me some other gifts and talents and interests. I won't ever be picked for the church softball team, but they enjoy having me in the choir. The more time I spend wishing I was more like _____, the less time I have for figuring out why He made me like this. Apparently, He has a plan for a person just like me, right now, in this place. Don't get me wrong, it certainly doesn't hurt us to try new things and stretch ourselves a little (remember, we are moving out of our comfort zones!) But when we waste our time trying to mold ourselves into being a certain type of person who we think we ought to be, someone who we really weren't ever meant to be, we miss out on the opportunity to let God show us why He made us who we are! I read this quote from Father John Powell, S.J. the other day:
"You have a unique message to deliver; a unique song to sing, and a unique act of love to bestow. This message, this song, and this act of love have been entrusted exclusively to the one and only you..."
And, here's the thing, God is saying that to each one of us! If God has a certain job for each of us, then we best get busy figuring out what that is and quit worrying about why everyone else seems more talented, more equipped, more adventurous than us. God has a plan and He has a part for each of us to play in that plan. Are you ready?
By the way, I actually have possession of a picture of Linda on horseback. I am happy to report that she was wearing a darling cowboy hat!