Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Ugly Duckling

I was thinking about the Ugly Duckling story today. The ugly duckling was ugly because it was being compared to ducks and not to swans. By swan standards, the ugly duckling was developing beautifully. By duck standards, the duckling was a freak. This led me to the thought of what I might compare myself to that is not using the right set of characteristics. How many times have I wanted to compare myself to ducks when I am really a swan? Say that one has a world-class runner as a brother. Might he be tempted to compare himself to that set of characteristics? Even though I was developing beautifully in so many other areas, why did I choose those characteristics?

Then, this brought me to another thought, and it came out quite eloquently: We always develop into who we are. The problem is we often refuse to celebrate our development because it is not as “good” as someone else’s development. So, if we are trying to develop into someone else or someone else’s expectation of us, we will never be happy. We will keep focusing on our reflection in the water as something ugly, incomplete, and undeveloped. Sometimes ugly ducklings turn into swans and still think they’re ugly ducklings. Sometimes beautiful ducks want to be beautiful swans and can’t handle being ducks, but someone has to keep the cosmetic and reconstructive surgery industries going (and populate TX and CA). The irony is swans are not any more beautiful than ducks.

Finally, I stumbled upon one last level. The ultimate problem is when we have to cope with being called children of God. That’s like being seen as a beautiful swan, but seeing the reflection of an ugly duckling. We are doomed to be wonderful, beautiful, and complete. Wherever we are in our development, we are children of God. So, the ugly duckling is always beautiful. In a sense, seeing ourselves as ugly is not giving God any credit and limiting him. Just one more thing to feel ugly about . . . or it can give me hope that I am developing into what I am.

At this point, I got out of the shower, shaved, brushed my teeth, and tried not to look in the mirror.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

This Crazy Life

So, the blog did not end in August, and I do remember making the threat. We just got a second wind and I did not carry out my threat. Please forgive!

Life for the Benicas is, how do you say, crazy. Everyday seems to usher in a new challenge, or rather, the same challenges in different packaging, like the show 24. When LOST seems to make more sense to us than our life, we tend to get worried (fortunately, we are not getting any nosebleeds). When you quit wondering what you would take with you if you got stranded on a deserted island, and instead wonder how you’ll get to that deserted island as quick as possible, do you start to consider antidepressants?

Isn’t this where God swoops in and makes it all better? And yet, is that not what he is doing now? The upside to our life now is that we are confronted with more questions that are pushing us towards growth, and I believe, reliance on God. Growing and suffering are not mutually exclusive, at least in my version of the Bible—they go hand in hand. In more modern terms, it’s like we can choose to suck, or we can choose to go in a different direction, even if the other direction is going the same direction in a different way. I think the answer is in the choice, and I think the irony of it all is that God will use any choice in his mysterious ways. Confused? So are we, and we need to be, because our survival depends on it. I keep saying we! This is coming out of my head and not Monica’s, and she sighs when I start talking like this.

Does God really care about the decisions we make, if he is going to use decisions for his purpose anyway (if you let him)? Does God really mingle in what can seem so insignificant in the bigger picture? I’m thankful for questions.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Monica's V-day present...

I can’t believe the extremes Ben went to just to get out of getting me flowers for Valentine’s Day this year! Thank you World Market for going out of business & making this bed affordable to us!

p.s. We didn’t realize how BIG the bed was until we got it home & put it together, so now we just like to pretend like we’re giants.