We Are That Kind of Human

On February 13, 2012 by Lynn


One of the primary laws of human life is that you become like what you worship; what’s more, you reflect what you worship not only back to the object itself but also outward to the world around. 

– N.T. Wright, Surprised by Hope 

Every so often, I read something that just kind of stops me in my tracks and makes me consider the way my life is put together.  This ‘primary law’ of humanity is both a beautiful and terrifying thing, honestly.  I want to be a more graceful person, so I spend time looking to others in my life who just radiate grace in the most beautiful way.  I want to be bolder, I want to be fiery, I want to be strong – and so I live my life in a way that makes that possible.  I learn from everyone I spend time with.  I absorb their words, their thoughts.  Like Harry Potter’s sword of Gryffindor, I take in that which makes me stronger.  

But then comes the unfortunate truth that I can’t just pick and choose to absorb the good while swimming straight through the bad.  In Surprised by Hope, Wright goes on to give examples of what other things people have chosen to create their lives around – money, sex, power and more – and just how those things have basically eaten them from the inside out.  For instance, if I worship power, I start looking at everything – people, experiences, places – in terms of that power.  Relationships become less about the people and the heart between friends and lovers, and more about ‘What can you do for me?’  Suddenly it’s not so hard to step on others, over others in that unending quest for power in one form or another.  

And so the question remains – what am I focusing on?  What am I worshipping with my time and heart and passions?  

It’s not as simple as ‘Choose A’ or ‘Choose B’ once and things are sorted.  There are layers and choices every single day.  It’s less about ‘Do I take that job?’ and more about ‘Why am I taking that job?”  It’s less about “Should I be friends with that person?’ and more about “Why do I want to be friends with them?”  or “How can I be truly a friend to that person?”  

Ah, the unending Why? of life.  

To use a specific example from my life – I am a writer.  I want to be a writer for the rest of my life.  There’s nothing inherently bad about that at all.  In fact, I would say there’s something inherently good about that.  I was born to be a writer.  At the risk of sounding cliche (or pretentious… not sure which one) – I’ve been destined to be a writer my entire life.  I write because I come alive when I put words to the page.  I live and breathe in the stories I tell the world.  But the moment I start thinking “I want to be a writer so people think I’m cool” or “I want to be a writer so I can say I’m friends with that person,” I’ve lost the point entirely.   Writing would stop being a passionate pursual of life and joy and become a twisted pursual of power or fame.  I would have completely missed the point. To say nothing of how that mindset would become a complete drain on creativity. I hope I never lose my way so completely as that. After all, there are no stories outside of people.  There are no joys so complete as the ones that are shared with friends. Preferably over a homemade dinner with a glass of red wine (hence the photo above – haha!)   But, especially living and working in Hollywood, I can see how easy it could be to lose sight. 

And at the end of the day, I don’t want to lose sight of the people in my life – the real people, the deepest selves that surround me.  I am able to live and write and love because I am ridiculously blessed with people everywhere in my life – in life, in work, in church – people who have become friends, friends who have become family.  For some reason, God has seen fit to fill my heart and home with the most amazing people I could ever have imagined.  He sees them all with this intensely beautiful love. And I hope my heart is always the heart of God. 

As C.S. Lewis put it… “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilization—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.”   Oh, to remember we are that kind of human.  How much better the world will be… 

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