A week ago I had a meeting, and true to form, I showed up to the location with 15 minutes to spare, and wandered around the surrounds for a little while before I had to go to the cafe. The place I chose to explore was down by the river, off a small path, and as I stood, breathing in the cool air and looking at the way the sun reflected on the water, a piece of string caught me eye. Just a shoelace tied to a branch, and I silently wished it wouldn’t be there, that it would stop ruining the perfect picture I stood within. But, then it occurred to me…
I often feel like a piece of string tied to a tree. As if I were an unsightly item tied to something beautiful enduring, something to be cut off and left in the trash, forgotten and forlorn. So much of my life has been spent feeling that way. So much of my life has been spent either battling that identity or fighting it, and there’s something frustrating about such a consistent battle when there are such great truths that speak so much stronger than the piece of ugly string tied to a beautiful tree.
There’s the truth that God speaks to me. The truth that my identity as His child is all that matters and that His words about me are the true ones, not the words others have spoken or that I speak to myself. His truth is the one that endures. His truth is what matters, and who He says I am is His child, and that is a much bolder claim than that of the unbelonging piece of string.
There’s the truth of what has passed. There are days that I’ve fought through and nights that I’ve wrestled through that have shown a strength that I hesitate to claim as my own. There are races I’ve completed that have felt impossible, and yet the finish line has been crossed. There have been months of resisting self destruction and days that followed where the world began to feel brighter.
There’s the truth of what simply is. There’s the truth that none of us feel like we belong all the time, and that we’re all a muddled pile of misfits that somehow fit together to create society. We’re all unique, we’re all different, and we each have the exact same worth. The truth is that we all feel a little out of place sometimes. The truth is that we all belong in spite of our gut feeling of unbelonging.
And so, I’m beginning to think that this ugly piece of string tied to a tree matters – and by that, I mean that I matter, and you matter, and your neighbour matters, and the man sleeping on the street matters, and the bullied child matters, and so does the bully. We matter because of who we are, and we matter because of what we are.
Oh, ugly piece of string… Don’t be disheartened. You matter.