Today reminded me of an endless truth…
… a truth, I believe, we each wrestle with.
In fact, it’s one we say we don’t believe, but when push comes to shove and the moment hits us squarely in the face, we’re forced to ask what we believe…
Can I truly celebrate the success of another?
Or do I look as someone else’s success as one less opportunity for me?
… be that the kid who plays on the soccer or baseball or any other team before my beloved child…
… be that the older teen who is awarded the lead before any of those other talented teens I love…
… or be that the business man who is more successful than me in my adulthood…
… be that even the adult who is more successful than me?
Can I celebrate their success?
The reality is that if you and I view someone else’s good fortune as something lesser for you and me then we can’t truly celebrate their success; we can’t be happy for them. We will instead look at them with displeasure or disdain, thinking that’s one less opportunity for me.
And then… yes, then… we justify all sorts of things. We justify:
… looking down upon them.
… playing (dare I suggest) “victim.”
… and yes… actually… (let’s say it…) physically confiscating from them…
… ah, do I dare even argue such taps into the inherent definition of socialism? … in other words… a unitary controlling of goods and services regardless of who has worked hardest for them? … regardless of who is most deserving?
This past weekend, my oldest sons have been involved in a national show choir competition in Nashville, Tennessee. Several of the nation’s best performed on the Grand Ole Opry stage. It has been a beautiful, emotional, awe-inspiring weekend.
After the preliminaries that spanned 2 entire days, the audience seemed thankful to witness the varying, amazing talents on display from high schools donning from Florida, Minnesota, Ohio, Virginia, etc. It was no doubt a talented, uplifting time; it was also an incredible opportunity for our teens. After day one, I wondered how the exiting choirs would feel, as a mere six were named finalists.
Would the competitors feel positive for one another?
Would they wish each other well?
Would they see opportunities as limitless?
Or would they only focus on what they, personally, had won or lost?
On Saturday, I woke that morning in prayer… praying that this day for my boys would be a confidence builder… that regardless of the result, it would be a day of enormous blessing… that they would gain confidence and self-esteem… and that they would realize the unparalleled rewarding of effort and hard work.
My boys’ choir won first place. It’s a special, special group. Yes, yes… like all good parents, the Intramuralist sobbed. (Call me a grown up “softie.”) But I sobbed most due to the humbling answer to my prayers…
Opportunity is not limited. And blessing is undoubtedly bountiful.
Always and still… yes… always and still.