“Happiness ultimately never depends on material possessions, or even on success in life. It stems from the inner knowledge that you are who God wants you to be, that you are doing what he wants you to do.”
A couple of weeks ago, I came to the decision that despite pandemic restrictions lessening, speaking invitations increasing, and my itchings to travel intensifying, I really needed to prioritize being at home in these next couple of months as Peter completes his chemotherapy journey. There are a few trips I must take, but thanks to an incredibly supportive community at CLI, I’ll be grounded. It sounds lovely in theory, but truth be told, at times for me, it feels like a cage. Traveling the country, engaging groups of people, speaking to rooms of people, it’s what I do, and Zoom just doesn’t compare. This last week as I scrolled my news feed and saw colleagues and friends enjoying stimulating presentations together and opportunities for fellowship out on the road, I couldn’t help but feel a little restless. Depending on the day, Peter can’t walk too far, so one day we took a very little stroll to the mailbox to retrieve the mail. As is regularly the case, there were cards for him, offering prayers and affirming him for being a fighter. As he looked at them, he was appreciative, but I could tell something was off. I asked what was on his mind. "It’s so nice people send me stuff, but sometimes I just want to be a normal kid, not the kid fighting cancer."
As we finished our walk, it struck me how much more grounded my eight-year-old son was than me. While my identity and happiness is so often wrapped up in the work I do, Peter is content and desperate just to be who he is at his core. Not a hero, nor a celebrity - he just wants to be a boy, a brother and a son. No doubt, the blessings of his youth and having no profession enable Peter to have this mindset. But for us grownups, how often do we confuse who we are with what we do, or sometimes what we can’t do? Do we constrain ourselves in comparison with what others have or get to do, or do we seek to ground ourselves and search for meaning in our basic and most important identity, that of sons and daughters of God the Father? Suddenly, rather than being jealous of my colleagues, I was envious of the clarity my Peter has at such an early age and I hoped that I could make this time at home a little pilgrimage for some self-discovery. Prayers that you stay grounded this week.