When I was young I envied my mum and sister’s movie star legs. Why did I get my dad’s short muscular ones I queried? Why couldn’t I have been beautiful instead of OK, brilliant instead of smart, talented but not the artist I dreamed to be, and most of all why wasn’t I one of those social types at ease in every situation, bubbling with small talk and confidence?
I got a clue on my first medical examination.
“You’ve got great legs!” the doctor told me. “Never going to have trouble with those legs.”
“But…” I mumbled, uncomfortable with the compliment.
Later it became clear as my mum’s legs soon grew subject to varicose veins, while at sixty six, in spite of multiple pregnancies and excessive use, I can still wear shorts without embarrassment . Around the same time my friend, who happened to have the 36 double D bust I’d coveted, shared how she could never find a dress that fitted, found running painful and, most of all, wished guys would look at her face instead of lower down. Being more observant I slowly realised being “drop dead beautiful” had it’s down side. People too often judged by the exterior resulting in the beauty becoming vain and shallow or frustrated because she wanted to be loved for her inner self. If I’d not been dyslexic to offset my smartness I’d not have made a good teacher, have changed so many little hearts to believe in themselves. Being OK but not beautiful, smart but not genius, talented but never quite perfect, kept me humble but not despairing.
I now picture God with his weights and scales, his tweezers even, getting everything just exactly right and balanced for the role he created me to play. There were no mistakes. Much as I lament my inadequacies I see they are all part of my balance. Even the social awkwardness I still suffer means I draw closer to him in a way I never would have done had I been little miss popular. The only way I can conquer my social awkwardness is to focus on the needs of others to overcome my shyness. This has poured my life into a mould of happiness and fulfilment. Those focused on others are rarely troubled by depression and tend to enjoy a depth of friendship the bubbling socialite may never know.
Though I was in rebellion, I see now with hindsight God didn’t get it wrong. Nor does he expect from me what I am unable to give. I am as he made me and in that is content and peace.