Eternally Second String

This article is written for all those who are never first choice. Or rarely first choice. We get the jobs because someone else backed out. We get the house because someone else couldn’t afford it. We are the experts in unrequited love and rebound romances. We grow up in hand-me-down clothes and were the last ones chosen in gym class. We are garage sale shoppers extraordinaire and can teach the world how to reduce, reuse, and recycle, because we, ourselves, are are so often second hand roses.

We are never the most beautiful, the most brilliant, or the shiniest bulb in the package. And, yet, we do shine. We are, indeed, beautiful and brilliant and we have God-given gifts. We just work our way quietly behind the scenes, keeping the world running. We are forever waiting in the wings, the side offices, and the farm teams, hoping to be noticed for our talents and to be pulled out and put in the big leagues.

Quotes on a red background: "I think laughter may be a form of courage. As humans we sometimes stand tall and look into the sun and laugh, and I think we are never more brave than when we do that." - Linda Ellerbee. "Though we travel the world over to find beauty, we must carry it with us or we will not find it." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
True Courage and Beauty

We are the average people. The normal, everyday folks who just plug away, day after day with our average intelligence,average faces, and average personalities. We can blend into a crowd. We are easily forgotten. It sometimes seems as if people see us on the periphery, as if we’re the support players revolving around the main character in a movie.

Does any of this sound familiar?  Or, perhaps, you just find yourself in occasional situations that cause you to feel invisible, unmemorable, or without a voice. Maybe you find you don’t receive the recognition or promotions you deserve at your place of employment. Maybe you’ve been introduced to the same person five times and on each occasion that person believes it to be the first. Maybe you’re in a group and, during discussions, your ideas are constantly ignored until someone else suggests the exact thing you’ve been proposing, only to receive great attention and accolades. Perhaps your family has long walked all over you, your feelings, your dreams, and your words each time you speak. You may be the fill-in for the dinner parties when one more person is needed at the table. You’re the friend who is called only when someone needs to vent or borrow money. Or, you’re the friend that just sits and listens, but is never heard; the friend who always offers support, but is never the one to receive a helping hand in time of need.

Quotes on a red background: "Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential." - Winston Churchill. "Sometimes you've got to let everything go - purge yourself. If you are unhappy with anything... whatever is bringing you down, get rid of it. Because you'll find that when you're free, your true creativity, your true self will come out." - Tina Turner
Finding Your Potential and Creativity

Whatever situation causes you to feel as if you need to climb on a table, wave a brightly colored flag or to shout with the Whos of Whoville, “I’m here. I’m here,” please know this:

You are so very valuable. You are created in God’s image, with God’s ability to reason, dream, imagine, and create. You can learn and grow and build a life that is amazing and wonderful. Listed below are a few simple steps to help you along the path to finding your unique greatness.

  1. Find your worth. You are more than the face you show to the world, how other people see you, use you, and what they assume you to be. Your worth encompasses the entirety of your being; your gifts and abilities, your dreams, thoughts, relationships; the whole magnificent unique package that is you.
  2. Identify that at which you excel. We all excel at something; something at which we are far beyond average. Find your skill and nurture it. Enjoy it. Share it. Use it for the benefit of others.
  3. Reach beyond yourselfBe a superstar in someone’s life by giving of yourself. You may feel average when you look at your life or when you look in the mirror, but when you break out of the everyday rut, when you share your gifts and energies with others, bringing blessings to their lives, you are no ordinary being. You are spectacular. You have become a miracle in someone’s life, the stuff of stories.

    Animated gif from Buffy the Vampire Slayer of Buffy and Willow eating popcorn, Buffy waves at someone as they both grin
    Find Your Scoobies
  4. Encircle yourself with the people who value the real you. No matter who you are, there will always be people who see you for the brilliant, beautiful, and fascinating gift that you are. Find them. Treasure them. See them for the truly marvelous people that they are and build an unbreakable circle of trust, friendship, and family that will not only see you through life’s storms, but allow you to celebrate the greatness that life brings.
  5. Draw the line. It’s important to be generous of spirit, time and talent, but there are limits in life. Protect your health and well being by knowing when to say, “When!” Know that you and your time and talents are your own. While some may see you as a second choice, know that you are a first rate human being with standards for your life. Stand up for yourself. You’re worth it.
  6. Embrace laughter and love. Do you feel it? Do you feel the joy that is bubbling around you? Life is so very, very good. See the beauty around you and within you. Search it out. Rejoice in it. Celebrate it.
  7. Connect with your Higher Power. Find ways to worship, spend time with, and find the wisdom of YHWH/G-d/Creator/Spirit. However you name that Being beyond us, make that connection. Frequently. Fervently. Allow the peace of those moments to penetrate your entire being. Infuse your life with the wisdom and sacredness that flow from that great, eternal, mysterious Holy One.

You’ve heard the comparisons. Worker bees. Drones. Ants. We, the people who keep plugging along, day after day. But, it is just these people who continue to make a difference in our world. You may not think you’re, “All that,” but you are. You’re magnificent. We certainly need worker bees who bring us the sweetness of life and the strength of the ants who build the foundations of society, but we are not defined by the tasks that we do. We are so much more.

The beautiful poetry in the Book of Psalms, in the Bible, tells us we are, “Fearfully and wonderfully made.” Eugene Peterson in, The Message, translates the passage in this way:

Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God–you’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration–what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
before I’d even lived one day.  [Psalms 139:13-16]

Fearfully, wonderfully, beautifully, uniquely, incredibly made. That is you. Rejoice and give thanks in who you are. Now, grab your batting helmet. You’re up at bat.

By Tamalyn

Still seeking a world of peace & justice, this minister, mate, and mom - an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), finds great happiness and God's presence in many places: from sandy beaches to the top of a Teton, soup kitchens to used bookstores. Tamalyn embraces the philosophy that "Life is Good," but we have much work to do.

4 replies on “Eternally Second String”

I’m not a religious person, but this made my heart just about burst. I’ve been feeling like a small fish in a big pond as of late. I definitely needed to hear this.

3 is my motto for life, and one of the things that keeps me going. 5 is what I have problems with.

Oh, #5 is so very difficult. Some of us practice it for decades and still struggle with guilt and other self-defeating issues when trying to just say no. But, still we must try!

Glad you liked the article. And I’m not sure there are any small fish. Some of us are either too easily pushed aside or else we just don’t mind letter others pretend they’re “bigger.”

One of the things I find, as I get older, is my power. I have more power to choose, not only my life’s activities, but my attitude. I’m more comfortable in my skin and there’s a joy in that. This all enables me to look at life differently, finding joy in new ways.

I would encourage you to really grab hold of your life, in every way possible, and count the blessings that are there. Our losses will continue to increase, as life goes on. That’s an inevitability, but those who are able to maintain a positive attitude (and I know many people who are, despite devastating challenges), have a beautiful impact on the lives around them, as well as enriching their own lives.

Blessings on you as you seek out your joy.

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