“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Isaac Newton
I’ve always loved this quote. It pays tributes to those who have come before – something that has always been really important to me. But it also backhandedly alludes to the fact that I can see really really far. That’s important to me too.
I was thinking about this quote the other day and something, a popcorn kernel of discontentment, stuck between my mental teeth. After having chewed it over for a while I think I know what it is.
It makes everything seem too neat and clean. It makes it sound like everything, all of my well laid plans, have worked out just fine.
Let me tell you something – if I happened to find myself standing on some shoulders it wasn’t because I planned on it. Just the opposite. Most of the time I just sort of wander into good situations.
Can we just all admit that this is the truth for most of us?
I’m tired of trying to make you think I’m something I’m not. I’m really bad at some things. I’m not good at a lot of other things. I’m pretty good at other things (sleeping is my #1 skill). I’m not beating myself up. I’m just tired of trying to hide who I really am behind a mask of competence.
What if Christianity’s culture changed enough that we could all walk around with our masks of near-perfection off?
Here’s another thought – a thought that I really love.
If we were all able to allow our real selves to be visible we could all just rest in our imperfections and rest in God’s love/grace.
I consider myself one of the luckiest people in the world. I have had so many people come beside me in my life. I can’t even begin to count.
If I can see anything in life I can honestly say that it’s not because of my wisdom or insight, it’s because I have had the incredible privilege to stand on a lot of shoulders.
Those shoulders that I’ve stood on? They’ve been arthritic. Knotted, broken, weak, and in pain. And to me – I wouldn’t have it any other way. Because those shoulders, shoulders riddled with arthritis, are so much broader and so much kinder than any other type of shoulders.
That seems a lot better to me. Admittedly it sounds better to me because if anyone ever was to stand on my shoulders I know that they would be standing on shoulders plagued with arthritis from day 1.