by Veronica Jacobsen, SoH Office Manager
Allow me, for a moment, to tell you about a TV show that premiered last Fall that I am totally head over heels in love with: The Good Place. Without giving too much away, in the very first episode you start to realize that the story will center on a character dropped into a setting in which he or she does not belong. Hilarity ensues, because, well, it is a sitcom.
And allow me, for a moment, to tell you about one of the life-changing podcasts I started listening to at the end of last year, The Hilarious World of Depression. In this locally-produced podcast, John Moe talks with very famous and marginally famous funny people about the intersection of comedy and mental illness. These are discussions with people who are well-liked for their talents, yet choose to reveal to the world that, despite the witty exterior, they don’t feel like they fit in. If you’re interested in either one of those things, or if you like people in general, give this podcast a whirl.
I didn’t come here to talk about these things, but rather, to provide some background.
For this entire Lenten season, the Spirit of Hope community has been reflecting on the book, “Gifts of the Dark Wood: Seven Blessings for Soulful Skeptics” By Eric Elnes. It was a slim read, and an easily digestible one at that. Week by week, we, the staff at Spirit of Hope, have lovingly (and I use that word in all seriousness) tried to set up an experience for people who come Wednesday nights to break bread, share a meal, reflect, and commune with each other. In a lot of ways, it was a way for staff to create a space to welcome you, to guide you, and to challenge you. I hope you’ve felt that care and attention if you’ve attended. If you haven’t–I’m deeply sorry that our attempts at hospitality missed their marks.
Anyway, this week we close out Lent by talking about being misfits. If you’re a misfit, you know that not fitting in is HARD. If you aren’t a misfit, please know that those of us who don’t fit in with the rest of you fight the stress and pressure of being atypical every day.
I know I’m “just an Office Manager” here. Before that, I was “just a doula”. And before that, I was “just an administrative assistant”. But one thing that I’ve always grappled with is that my brain does not stop asking questions. Ever. If I need to understand how something works, I figure it out. If my brain starts to work on a solution to a problem, even a minor one, I work to find the answers. And to top it all off, I’ve learned that the way my brain works makes for a very, very strong justice bias. So yes, I hold those around me accountable. I work to make sure people are following the letter of the law. No, I don’t want to be a lawyer, but I’ll play one on TV after I stay at a Holiday Inn Express.
I am a misfit. After some odd number of years I won’t reveal, I’m really working on coming into being as my own confident person. I thank my therapist, my husband, and strong women for carrying me and supporting me as I’ve worked to find my own distinct (and very loud) voice. But my experience as a misfit notwithstanding, there are some things I want you to contemplate:
At the beginning of this year, I worked to find an appropriate way to label myself. I didn’t want it to be about what I do, but rather about who I am right now. Eventually, I settled on “Dreamer. Builder. Nerd.” And you know what? I still really like it. The people that I want to get it will, and those who I don’t, won’t. I’m starting to own the fact that my brain works the way it does, that it’s not like a normal brain, and that’s OK. I am a nerd who likes to dive deep, figure things out without being asked to, and then fix things so they work. It’s my bliss.
During this Holy Week, I challenge you to welcome the misfits. Welcome those who defy all societal norms and talk to the woman at the well at noon. Welcome those who take time to wash the feet of those who are, by some arbitrary and patriarchal standard, of “lower station.” Welcome those who have different ideas, new takes on the world– after all, in a Christian Tradition rooted in the ideas and teachings of (sadly) men who didn’t fit in within the confines of a Christian Church Framework—if we can’t welcome and celebrate the Misfit– then why are we even here?
After all, Jesus was a man who died, was buried, and ROSE FROM THE DEAD. Who even does that? I’ll tell you…..