Be a Bit Bigger

Something that’s rattled around in my brain over the last several years is my (our) propensity to cling to things that will make us feel a bit bigger.  This election has yet again brought this concept to the forefront of my thinking.  It’s certainly not something unique to politics, elections, the economy, social issues, etc…it finds its way into sports, TV, movies, music, religion, geography, nationality, vocation…and on and on.  If I tell you that my name is Brian and leave it at that you may think, “Myeh…there’s probably at least 13 or 14 other Brians out there…this one isn’t all that impressive”…or at least my fear is that’s what you’ll think.  It’s a fear we all have, regardless of whether or not you are named Brian.  But if I tell you that my name is Brian and I’m an American, Canadian, Republican, Democrat, Christian, Hindu, Weezer Fan, Days of our Lives watcher, technology freak, musician, veteran, hippy, kung fu master, bi-linguist, professional, social servant…I start to build up clout, in my own eyes and hopefully in yours, too.  I think that’s why we get as fanatical as we do come election time.  “I’m a supporter of _____ candidate.  I will vote yes, no, yes, yes, no on propositions __, __, __, __, __, respectively.”  I’ve suddenly given myself greater worth, importance and value because I’ve tacked some descriptors on to the end of my name.  If my candidate wins, so have I.  Now, I’m not saying that all political beliefs are born out of this thought process…far from it.  All of these areas of belief are important and need to be explored, furthered, voted on, ratified, enacted, followed and believed in…but are they really what I want to define me?  Do I want you to know me as Brian or as a collection of things, beliefs and codes that Brian has signed allegiance to…to support and defend till the bitter end, and even further.  I see the division it causes in my own heart and I don’t like it.  I don’t want to make judgments based upon what you eat or which baseball team you root for.  Is it possible to express our hearts apart from aligning ourselves to movements, beliefs and groups?  I have no general answer to this question, but I do know that I need to think long and hard when it comes to what I put in the blank following “Hi, I’m Brian the _____”.  (Maybe I’ll start with “plumber”….that has a nice ring to it.)

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