The sidewalk around the fancy hotel bends and curves like a ribbon, and I cover every inch of it in search of something. This hotel offers a picturesque view, and I like to take it in while writing or simply walking around the grounds.
But what I’d like to take in are stairs I’ve seen there before, uniquely-designed stairs adorned with decorative tile. I really want to snap a picture of them, but of course, I can’t find them to save my life. I shake my head while talking to myself, Am I losing my everlovin’ mind? I know I saw them last time I was here, right around this part of the hotel.
Once again, I walk up and down the sidewalk that hems in the looking glass pond. I see stairs, but only the plain-ol’, nothin’-special concrete variety.
I want to find that spark of special, but I guess it’s not meant to be. As I sit on a nearby bench, I cross my arms and mutter to myself, After the week I’ve had, that just figures. Sometimes I sound remarkably similar to a moody five-year-old.
Still, it has been one of those weeks when my attempt to create something special on a variety of fronts has ended in disappointment. And I’ll just go ahead and admit this: I want something to show for all the difficulty. I want proof that even my disappointments and falling-down-failings aren’t for nothing.
Oh sure, sometimes I create something for my family, my friends, or my work, and the effort pays off in extraordinary ways. My hands hold glittery proof of something special that makes me grin ear to ear.
But what about those times when what I do or what I create flat out fails and the letdowns load up and pile up like never-ending laundry?
The dinner cooked is discarded.
The words written are declined.
The heart shared is dismissed.
We’re left with sagging shoulders and tired hearts holding all kinds of runaway thoughts — thoughts that say who we are and what we do are a whole lot of nothin’ special.
Words float from the darkness, and you listen to them even though you know you shouldn’t: Maybe I’m nothin’ special. I am desperate for proof this isn’t true.
“[Jesus says] if you feel unimportant in the eyes of the world, that matters not at all. For me, there is no one any more important in the entire world than you. I thirst for you. Open to me, come to me, thirst for me, give me your life — and I will prove to you how important you are to my heart.”
Mother Theresa, quoted in Bread and Wine
You want proof you’re something special? Jesus says you don’t have to formulate or find it. Instead, you just have to enfold yourself in His all-ready approval. Jesus never asked you and me to prove anything. He only asks us to accept His grace and believe in faith that as His grace-receivers, we are absolutely something special. And He abundantly gives us all we need all the time so we can do His good work whether it feels special or not.
I stand up from my bench and descend down those plain-ol’, nothin’-special concrete steps from the hotel grounds to my car. Before I turn toward the front of the hotel, I glance over my shoulder and then see what was there the whole time: decorative tile on the stairs.
I couldn’t find them before because I was staring at them from the wrong perspective.
All the nothin’ special, letdown moments really do hold something good all their own. We just need to keep walking through them in faith. If we stop short, we’ll miss them. But if we keep going, we will one day turn around and see that hidden within them is something beautiful, something special.