June 20, 2006

Mediocrity

Once, when I was in 8th grade, I competed in a fun Youth Week event for school. I was on the winning mile relay team, first leg, and we were going to run against the winning senior's team at the high school. I was a quiet child, but fast. I was nervous, the girl I had to race for the first leg was a jock, voted most athletic.  As she strutted up to the line, she chuckled to her teammates, "This'll be easy." That inflamed my courage. Had she not said that, I might have psychologically given in to the big senior hot shot, thinking losing was the only possible outcome. But her comment pumped up my resolve immediately and when I handed off the baton to my teammate, I had time to catch my breath, tie my shoe and have a drink before she hauled her most athletic butt across the finish line. My teammates kept a lead and we beat the seniors. The principal told my mother that he'd never forget that race as long as he lived.

I love the memory of that too. It gives me a charge. I love the fact that I beat the jock, but now, given a magic wand, I would change the day: I would have prepared for the race, I would have arrived with resolve to do my best, and I would have not listened to her antagonistic comment - just run my race regardless of her superior attitude. Her attitude is her own problem. That day it may have helped me in a way, but it also tainted my performance in a negative way. I like the idea of being excellent for the sake of excellence and Purpose, rather than winning and earthly positioning. What's it all for? Self-indulgence.

I haven't done my birthday quote for a long time. I checked out the quotes for today's birthdays and was struck by three. Anne Murray said I often think that perhaps the reason I became a successful singer was that, as a kid, I could never do anything as well as my brothers. I wanted to do something better than they did. Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys said sweetly, Beware the lollipop of mediocrity; lick it once and you'll suck forever. Chet Aktins said, Everything I've ever done was out of fear of being mediocre.

Wonder what our fear of mediocrity is...and why don't I have it? LOL Really, why can't we be "shown up"? Why do we have to prove ourselves against the jocky Junes of the world? Why isn't striving for doing our very best enough? Why does it have to involve showing that someone else's very best is less? That's where God comes into for me. No amount of positioning and striving for winning for winning's sake has a place there. What I have has been given to me. And the point of using it to the fullest, to excellence, is the idea of giving it back with thanks.

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