Every day is something new, and every moment is new again. We're living n a time and a place where new is in, new is hip, new is the thing - a new relationship, a new tv show, a new smartphone, a new car, a new job, a new church, a new place, a new you. (20 pounds lighter with just a hint of a tan, please.)
I got a new desk this week.
Well, new to me. This thing was a garage sale STEAL at a mere 15% of the original price, and it's in excellent shape. Hardly a scratch on it. It's pretty much everything I've been looking for in a desk, and I've been looking for four years. It's also eerily similar to the desk I designed to build for myself when I could not find one I could afford. (I couldn't afford to build it either.) This desk has work space, beautiful curves, and hidden storage - all pluses that raise it high above my old desk. It's also reasonable height.
I've had the old desk for about 18 years; it was the family desk back when I was in middle school, stayed at dad's house after the divorce, and moved into my bedroom after his death thirteen years ago. It is still in great shape, excellent shape, except for a few scratches from my x-acto knife, and sturdy. But that thing is a monstrosity. It stood taller than I did, stacked near-ceiling high on the hutch with almost everything I own and use. No work space. Nothing. I've kept it because it's not worn out, because it was free, and because I couldn't afford a new one. But I finally bit the bullet and that thing is on its way to Goodwill later this week.
Which brings me back to my new desk. It's new. It's beautiful. It's wholly different from what used to sit in this very spot. But it doesn't feel different. You know when you get something new or even when you just move things around, everything feels awkwardly different for the first few days, at least. You try to sit where the couch used to be and find yourself laughing when you fall on the floor. You drive yourself crazy looking for this or that thing in the top drawer before twenty minutes later remembering you moved it to the third drawer. Little things that just throw you off for awhile. In little things, it's easy to laugh about. But the big things...I dunno. It's kind of fun to be disoriented, isn't it?
Except I'm not. From the instant I made the desk swap, I haven't felt anything different. I don't lose myself walking into my work space. I don't accidentally reach for something where it used to be on the old desk. I know right where everything is at, sit here like I've been sitting here all my life, utilize this space like it's always been here. And I have wondered how that could be.
The answer is: because this is right. This desk is so right for everything I've wanted to do with this space. It is conducive to the work that I do here. It is aesthetically perfect for my sensibilities. It's me. It doesn't feel different because it feels so right. It's natural.
It's a silly example, I know. Forgive me. But it's not just the desk. We spend so much time changing, so much time chasing new, and we're so frequently disoriented in different that I think we're wasting it all. The answer to life's discomforts is not in "new;" it's in right.
In the past couple of weeks, I have spent considerable time in two houses. One, I live in full-time; one, I was just visiting for awhile. When I walk in the door of the one, I head straight to my room, set my stuff down, kick off my shoes, and worry about nothing. I engage in life as it comes and don't worry about being something specific, something new. When I walk in the door of the other, I kind of put stuff wherever it fits, where it maybe should go, I forget for awhile to take off my shoes, I'm looking around trying to figure out where I am and what I'm doing and what I should be doing and it feels like I should be doing something new, like I'd have to be something different in this place. And you might be surprised which door is which.
Some things are just natural, some places just are. You feel at home in them, and even when things change, there's no time for them to feel different. Because they just feel right. It's not a new thing. It's not an old thing. It's just a right thing, and it doesn't drive you nuts to think there could be another thing. This one is enough. It's perfect, just the way it is, whether it was this way yesterday or has never been this way before.
The same is true of you and I. There is a place where we just are. A natural place for us to be. A natural heart for us to live from. A gift, a grace, an attitude, a presence that are all just perfect for us. I've spent so much of my life trying to overcome the shadows that haunt me, trying to change things, trying to become new. Trying to prove to everyone that I am new. Trying to prove to myself that I can be made new. All this emphasis on new...it's disorienting. I'd wake up in the morning and have to remember my "new," have to find it again, have to figure out where I put it so I could do that again. But here lately, I've found a better thing and that better thing is "right."
I'm just me, and this is just it. And I'm not a new thing. And I'm not an old thing. I'm just a right thing, a right Aidan. A wonderful creation. And you know what? The more I live in the right thing, instead of the new thing, the more I notice that nobody notices. Nobody remarks that oh my gosh, I'm so different now. Nobody's drawing comparisons between how I was yesterday and how they find me today. Because, I guess, this just makes sense. I am as I ought to be, so it doesn't strike anyone as a new thing. It doesn't strike me as a new thing. It's just a right thing, completely natural.
Be yourself. Be your right thing and stop chasing after new. Whatever is new will be made old again; whatever is right is pure. So be that. Be right. It's so much better than new, and much less disorienting.