|Yup – that’s me. Young, carefree, fearless. Or something like that.|
So a while back, I wrote something called “When I Become Real.” And yes, that is inspired by the amazing story “The Velveteen Rabbit” by Margery Williams.
*sniff sniff* I love that story…
WAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!! *insert sound of honkin’ schnozzola being emptied into soggy hankie*
*sniff* Ok… I’m better now…
Nutshell version: When I’m using my gifts, being who I really am and doing what He really intends me to do, I become the most real that I will ever be in this world.
So on Sunday, June 2nd, I got to be really real once again, telling a story as part of our morning worship at First Cov. And any morning you cause your pastor to say, “I’ve never had to follow anything like that in my life,” well, you know it’s been a good morning.
What story, I hear you ask?
The one, the only, the most excellent…
(And, for the record, it’s not the only… there are a series of books about Tacky the Penguin, but I told the original Tacky the Penguin story.)
I truly, truly love that story. It lets us all know that sometimes being an odd bird is the best kind of bird to be. And, as all the world knows, I are an odd bird.
In fact a member of a choir I directed gave me my copy of Tacky the Penguin, and wrote in the front, “To Cal – an odd bird.”
Truer words were never spoken.
And I’ll admit – I was a little surprised at how “all in” I went in the telling of it. The movements became a little more exaggerated, the facial expressions were a little bigger, and everything seemed a little more intense.
(Including my “Tacky face,” which Herself says she doesn’t remember seeing before, but it’s the same expression I always use with that part, when Tacky greets others with his quirky smile, leading me to believe that it was always there, but it was buried under a little too much me to be seen…)
(*pause here for a moment for those who are still giggling over the use of the phrase “Tacky face” to catch up with us…
and…… there ya go. Welcome back.*)
As if all that wasn’t enough excitement, I spontaneously added a jump.
As in, actually leaving the ground and becoming airborne for a moment. A whole whopping inch or so above the stage. Both feet.
And I discovered something… Something I never realized… Something that really surprises me…
When I’m real, I’m fearless.
When I step out of the way, allow God’s good gifts to flow through me, employing them as He intended me to, there is no fear. There is no hesitation, no wondering “What in the world will they think of me?”, no feeling inadequate, no questions, no baggage, no regret.
It’s on like Donkey Kong, baby.
(As for “What in the world will they think of me?”, let’s face it – my peeps at First Cov have known me for many years, they love me for some strange reason, and if anyone in this world knows just how odd of a bird I be, it be them.
Word to yo goldfish.)
But this realization really startles me… When I’m “real,” I’m fearless.
When I’m a storyteller, letting go of everything else, there’s nothing in the way – it’s all about the story, about blessing others with the wonderful way a story can touch people. It’s a heartfelt desire to get out of the way and just be a conduit for a story, and a huge sense of wonder when the room gets quiet and the only thing being heard is the story itself.
I call it the storyteller’s gift – when a whole room of folks get caught up in a single tale and leave everything else behind for a while. And it stuns and humbles me every time God allows me to see it in action.
Fearless and filled with wonder – pretty much my gig as a ‘teller.
– BUT –
When I’m a writer, um, wow. Can I say I’m fearless?
I guess so. I hope so. I’d like to think so.
After all, when you only have 3.78 readers, it’s easy to be fearless.
I jest. I kid. I ha ha ha.
It’s a tough one, tho – am I fearless when I write? This one cuts closer to the bone, because most of my writing is on this blog, my personal journal and the best way for me to work through the mental chaos to clarity. To be real here is to be really real – transparent, visible…
(And now we pause to wait for those who had to go use a little eye bleach, trying to ban some mental images that will haunt them to the end of days…
… Never mind. They aren’t coming back. Let’s roll along, kids.)
But when I write, most anything is fair game. The ups, the downs, the weird, the crude, the wondrous. It’s all on the menu. Fortunately, it gets passed through filters like decency, appropriateness, common sense, and TOO MUCH INFORMATION, MAN!!!
Cmd-Z is my friend. That’s Ctrl-Z to you other folks out there.
When I look at the various and sundry stuff that I tend to pursue, the ones that God makes it clear that I’m gifted in and am to be active with, my premise holds true… When I become real, I’m fearless.
– BUT –
When I say that becoming real makes me fearless, I’m not saying there is no fear.
“Nice. You’ve once again headed the wrong way down a linguistic cul-du-sac, tried to make a U-turn, and ended up in some poor lady’s begonias. Way to go, fearless writer boye.”
Thank ya. Thank ya very muchhhhh. Uh HUH!
No one in their right mind (which usually leaves me out) isn’t nervous, apprehensive, or a little afraid when hanging everything out there for others to see, observe, and pontificate upon. Stand up in front of a whole bunch of others and tell a story. Write about how your digestive track has been redecorated. Do something that you’re gifted in, under the scrutiny of others – a couple others, a group of others, a crowd of others, or a whole honkin’ boatload of others with the power to LIKE or UNLIKE you at the click of a mouse!
It’s like painting a bullseye on your tuckus.
(Don’t bother with the bleach – it’s much too late now.)
When I say that when I become real, I’m fearless, it means that although I have the same butterflies in my tum-tum that everyone else would, when I’m real those little things don’t stop me. They don’t freeze me, intimidate me, make me second guess myself, or wonder why I’m even doing this.
Being real, doing and being exactly what God designed me for, so that His gifts flow through me without hesitation, well…
That’s when I’m fearless.
And, perhaps you are too. Only one way to know – get out there, dive in where He’s gifted you, swim as He designed you to, and watch the familiar shoreline disappear…