Human beings spend inordinate amounts of time taking measurements, whether it involves measuring up to someone else’s standards or measuring one’s value or worth based on societal standards. It seems we do not feel self assured without basing our claims on others’ interpretations of such measurements. Unfortunately, these measures are most often biased to include personalized or societal expectations of how one should perform within the contexts of certain roles.
Above is a poem (measuring me through someone else’s eyes), handed to me one day at church by my sweet, inspirational young friend, Gracie – with whom I share a love of poetry. By the measure of societal standards, Gracie doesn’t always ‘fit.’ She’s very tall for her age & a bit awkward in her prepubescent gait. Her family struggles financially, so her clothes, even when clean, are often well-worn. Sometimes she struggles in school – particularly in English & Reading (so she tells me). Top it off with her giant, gentle spirit, and you can probably imagine that Gracie gets bullied sometimes. Yet, she’s always Grace-filled.
Below is Gracie’s poem, typed out, in case you’re having trouble reading the original above. I left all spellings and grammar in their original form, without editing for corrections. (And trust me, I had to ask my teacher personality to have some grace on me, so I wouldn’t fall short and succumb to that expected published standard.)
Your eyes sparkles like glitter.
You shine like the sun.
You glow in the night.
You faith is strong but your love is stronger.
Your hope and kindness is wonderful.
Your a great person.
Your sweet like candy.
Your smart like a genius.
Your a beautiful person.
Your a giving person to everyone you meet.
My first thought, when receiving Gracie’s poetic gift, was, ‘Wow, how I only wish I could measure up to be an inkling of her creative portrayal of me!’ Oh sure, by someone else’s standards (someone who might have had a more critical eye for mechanical detail), some corrections for spelling, punctuation and errors could have easily been the mark of measurement. But look at what would have been missed! ‘That person’ would’ve missed Gracie’s expression of her feelings, her grace-filled affection, and her ability to metaphorically compose them to flow forth through her elementary school pencil. I couldn’t help but praise her talent and encourage her to continue practicing her gift of poetry.
Perhaps because we were sitting there in church when she handed me that poem, I was more in tune with spiritual writings when this Matthew verse came to mind:
For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged…
and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
I believe the impact of this truth comes through the lens we’re using when we’re measuring someone else – the one that’s being reflected through our own heart’s standard.
In my reflection, it dawned on me that, despite the measures others will try to apply to her, by her own standard of measurement, my friend, Gracie, is going to do just fine in life! And you know what? I believe I have proof! Last week, she excitedly informed me that a poem she had written to her school teacher had not only been accepted to be published, it had won first place in a poetry contest. Gracie was judged by a standard of measure that determined she will be receiving a $500 savings bond towards college tuition!
So what about you? Have you ever considered your own standards of measure?
If so, and you find these are falling as short as our economy, it may simply be time to reflect upon the placement of your interest – and to allow yourself and others to be judged by the marks of Grace.