We've been hearing a lot in the past several months about essential and non-essential workers. (And yes, I'll be tying this back into encouragers later, but hang with me for awhile.) But here's the truth, and this is going to be hard for a lot of us (myself included) to hear: we're all non-essential.
Every one of us. We fill a specific role in the universe, but if we aren't in that role for some reason, it will get filled back up with something else. That's just the nature of the world, I guess.
I'm on day 21 of a Covid infection. For two weeks, I was isolated in my home. For two weeks, I was unplugged from my life. For two weeks, the world had to go on without me. And guess what - it did. In fact, the world found a way to settle into its own new rhythm without me, picking up the slack on all the things I would have done but couldn't and all the places I would have been but wasn't. And now, as I'm starting to venture back out into the world, still fighting the effects of the virus but no longer contagious or required to isolate, I'm finding a hard reality staring back at me:
The world doesn't need me as much as I thought they did.
It's the greatest lie that we tell ourselves, right? If I wasn't here right now, this whole thing would fall apart. All of it. The whole world would just crumble and fall if I weren't holding it up and doing my part. Others cannot get along without me. What I do is so essential to the operation, a vital cog in the machinery, and if I weren't here to do it, it simply wouldn't get done. And then we have a whole domino effect of other things that can't or won't happen if we don't do our thing and essentially, we convince ourselves that if we were gone, the whole world is done for.
It's not true, of course, but what a slap in the face (and a dart to the heart) that it is to actually find that out. To discover, after weeks of not being in the world, that the world just up and moved on without you and doesn't actually need you to do anything. Not even the things that you used to do.
In fact, I've found that the world has gotten so good at taking over the things that I used to do for it that even when I try to pick them back up and start again, there's no need for me to. Things are already done before I even get to them. Things are already in motion before I've even thought about them. In my absence, the world upped its game and the cold, hard reality is...this world doesn't need me.
The conflict of heart (once we get past ego, which is an entirely different thing) is that in the same breath that I understand this world doesn't need me, in the same sight in which I see this world carrying on without me without so much as a hiccup, I also know that the God of the Universe, who spoke all things into being, specifically created me. He made me. He made me just the way that I am because He looked at everything He created and decided that the world could use one of me. And that seems important. Doesn't it? Doesn't that matter?
I think it matters.
This truth pierced my heart like an arrow. It was a shock to my total system. The way that I walked back into my life thinking that it was waiting for me only to find out that...it wasn't. It moved on without me. The world kept turning, and it's not so much that I have been replaced as much as the little hole that I thought that I filled has just sort of...sucked close. It just sort of vanished. And now, it seems like I have to make a new place for myself somehow, like I have to figure it all out all over again.
This probably sounds like a downer. It certainly can be. But there's a silver lining here, too. There's something else at work, and it comes out of that little truth that I just can't ignore, that little knowledge I have that God Himself created me for a reason.
To be continued, tomorrow.