Defining Success by Defying Gravity

I’m through accepting limits
’cause someone says they’re so
Some things I cannot change
But till I try, I’ll never know!
Too long I’ve been afraid of
Losing love I guess I’ve lost
Well, if that’s love
It comes at much too high a cost!
I’d sooner buy
Defying gravity
Kiss me goodbye
I’m defying gravity
And you can’t pull me down

– Defying Gravity, Wicked

Success, in the United States in 2014, involves matters of money, renown, and prestige.  Money… how much do you make?  Renown…. whom do you know?  Prestige… how much do you matter?  

You know I’m about to flip everything you think you know on its head, right?  Tell me you see that coming by now.  That’s what I do, after all.

A few weeks ago, my mom gave me $5 for the week.  I got a drink at some point during the day, so I was left with just over $3.  When I got back to my room, I saw $3 sitting on my tray table and, for a second, I thought it was three more dollars– three in addition to the $3 from the day.  I thought, in that moment, yikes– I am RICH!  $6 for this week?!  I thought of all the possibilities that $6 held for me.  I realized, then, that I only had $3, after all– only the original three bills.  Then, I looked up and said, Lord, thank you for teaching me the value of money… thank you for allowing me to truly get how rich $6 would make me.  I may not be rich in nickels and dimes, but I am invaluably rich in perspective.  I’m working my tail off these days to get my feet on the ground, especially financially.  I cannot wait for the day when I can pay my rent, buy my health insurance, and buy my mom lunch.  Right now, that’s not my reality, and I’ve found that, while it’s critical to have drive to make your reality better, it’s pointless to angrily fight your situation in a way that will only drag you down.  Drive isn’t the same as fight.  I am full of drive, but I try to be devoid of the bitter fighting spirit that leads me to be unappreciative of what I’ve got.  I’m grateful that I know the value of six dollars… and that I know the value of a little perspective.  

Money… how much do I have?  I have far more than any amount of money can buy.

Renown is about who you know, or, more accurately, who knows you.  In terms of success, we usually think in terms of big names.  I’m here to tell you that big names are worthless; often, those who have the biggest names have the smallest view of those of us who haven’t “made it.”  I’m thankful for big hearts.  I’ve been told that, since I can “pass for normal,” I, therefore, have some sort of responsibility to be a part of the typical young-adult social circles.  Truthfully, I don’t know what typical young adults do for fun.  Oh, I think I know– they go “out.”  Where is this nondescript “out” and why is it so attractive?  Even among the circles of Christian women with whom I have felt pressure to belong, my social quirks and love of all things Disney and Hello Kitty mean that I often end up playing with the women’s children.  Sometimes, people make it sound as if it’s somehow stooping for me to socialize with people who are noticeably affected by their autism (and whatever other issues it brings along).  Far from stooping, I consider it an honor that these simply amazing people accept me and call me “friend.”  Friendship isn’t about big names; it’s about big hearts!  I’m thankful for my autistic friends with whom I feel like I truly belong.  

My name might not be in lights, but it’s inscribed on my friends’ hearts, and that is where I want to have renown.

Too long I’ve been afraid of
Losing love I guess I’ve lost
Well, if that’s love
It comes at much too high a cost!

Finally, when we consider “success,” we think about prestige… how much do you matter.  I exhausted myself for 25 years by trying to make myself matter to other people.  Sometimes I did matter, very much… but I never mattered to myself, and until I did, I would never feel like I was “anybody” at all.  I was sitting here, thinking about where I’ve been… the depths of the sorrow and despair I’ve faced in my life… where I am… living in a nursing home and desperately trying to get “out” and establish my life… and where I’m going.  Where am I going to matter?  Rather than filling me with fear, when I think about the future today, I’m filled with excitement.  God promises that He has a future for me, one filled with hope and good things, and I believe that I have a future that is full of promise. 

No more will I listen to anyone who tells me that I can’t, that I don’t have the ability to live out the life I’m called to live.  I have limitations, but I’ve learned that thriving is less about fighting our way around our limitations and more about finding ways to use them to our advantage:…

I’m through accepting limits
’cause someone says they’re so
Some things I cannot change
But till I try, I’ll never know!

 

Throw me a broom, because, regardless of the rumors others want to spread, the negativity they throw my way, I’ll be flying high.

I’m defying gravity
And you can’t pull me down.

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