As I was walking up, I couldn’t stop shaking. I was trying my best to enjoy the moment and I was trying to pretend like I wasn’t nervous, which works until it doesn’t. Finally, they called me up to the stage and I slowly walked forward then I was reminded of how public speaking has always been a fear of mine. This was something that I rehearsed over and over again in my head, but it doesn’t always feel the same when you are experiencing the real thing. I use to get nervous speaking in front of 12 people at church and now I found myself speaking to a gym full of over a thousand. My speech was for everyone to hear, but there were times when I felt like I just wanted to talk to my family and my friends. I just wanted to make them proud at my graduation, but it felt weird not having my mom cheer me on but I know she was watching somewhere.
Somewhere out there, I hope there is someone who is proud of you. They don’t always have to be family, maybe it could be a teacher, friend, or mentor. But I hope there is at least one person cheering you on. Cheerleaders come in all shapes and sizes, but seeing someone passionate about the success of another is invigorating.
I love asking people what they are excited for in order to see what truly brings them joy and to see what they are passionate about. You never know what is going to happen. Worst case scenario, they tell you that they have nothing to be excited for and you can simply ask a different question. Best case scenario, they can tell you something that can influence your soul like this one. “What are you most excited for this weekend?” I asked. The question seemed all too easy. I had a great retail associate helping me at Apple, but he seemed to be an even better father. He said, “I’m most excited to see my son.” “Oh really?” I asked. Then I asked him why. He said, “Because when I get home, he looks at me like nothing else matters. Sometimes my wife doesn’t even look at me in that way.” As his face lit up, you could see the way he looks down at his son with such a warm embrace and I knew that every time he saw his kid he was reminded of this love.
The father’s name was John. As he was helping me with my computer, I asked him what his favorite part about being a father was and he shared a story with me. John said that recently, he took his son over to Gymboree and he let him climb the play structure. But the way John described the structure made it seem like it was a great mountain. The son inched towards the entrance, looking back at his father as he was about to embark on this journey. He was ready to go at it alone. The little boy ascended towards the stop, checking in with his father at any point that he could. That’s when John said that he kept looking at his son even when he was just halfway up saying, “I am so proud of you! Come on. You’re almost there.” The boy kept going. With all the other parents watching, he finally reached the top and there was now nothing that could hide his excitement and he looked back at his father. They grabbed each other’s gaze and locked on only to let go when they decided to finally come back to re-unite to celebrate the victory.
Somewhere out there, I hope there is someone proud of you. It could be anyone. There’s someone in my life who has an immense love for me no matter where I am at in my life and they continue to love me no matter what phase of life I am in. They see me as a masterpiece and I don’t even know if I could ever use that word to describe myself.
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”
Ephesians 2:10 NLT
The Bible tells us that we are God’s masterpiece, but that is just one translation. I don’t mind being called a masterpiece, I think I can roll with that. That sounds ok with me. But the Greek word that masterpiece is translated from was actually poiema, which means “a work”, but it is also where we get the English word “poem”. So this can easily be translated to “For we are God’s poem”. In The Jerusalem Bible, poiema is translated as “work of art”.
The beauty about that scripture is that doesn’t apply to just me. It says we. We are God’s masterpiece as His children. When I heard that story by the father from Apple and how he saw his kid and he was proud at every single moment, I knew that is a perfect depiction of the way God sees His children. He is proud of us no matter how far along we are in our journey. We can be at the beginning of our mountain, or at the very top, and no matter what you are still God’s masterpiece and He is still so proud of you. When I talked to John on that day, I knew that if his son wanted to turn back and quit climbing up that mountain he would always accept his son with open arms. Because that is what love is. True love is unconditional; true love doesn’t look at if you win or if you fail. True love looks like open arms.
This Psalmist has a beautiful way of describing the way God looks at His children. He says in Psalm 139:17-18, “How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!”
It might be hard to believe, but in God’s eyes you really are a masterpiece and God has an immeasurable amount of good thoughts about you. It might be hard to believe because maybe you can’t even see the beauty in yourself. Or it might be hard to believe because maybe you don’t even believe in God. But even before you were born, you were created to be unique and beautiful in your own way. In science we would call that bio-individuality. Your unique upbringing, experience, family, and friends continue to shape you. Some of your hobbies, interests, career, and faith may define you. All these things work together like an orchestra to create an incredible masterpiece, you.
I wish I could tell you that you were a masterpiece. Andy, I wish I could tell you that you were a masterpiece. I don’t know how you felt but I’m sorry if you felt bad. I don’t know where you were but I’m sorry I wasn’t there. I wish I could tell you that you mattered and that you are loved. When I had the honor of training you, I loved every session no matter how many times we fought about you just wanting to work your chest and your arms. I would have loved to tell you that you were beautiful already. It hurts so bad to know that you took your life and I don’t blame you for feeling pain. I just wish I could be there to let you know that I care and you are unique and you are a masterpiece.
For the past few years, I have been wondering when someone I knew would pass away. That doesn’t make this any less hard or any less surreal. This is just the reality that we live in. Life is tough. It is hard to keep fighting when you search your soul and can only find pain. It is hard to know that somewhere deep down inside of you there is still hope. If you haven’t heard it yet, you are beautiful. In God’s word it goes a step further.
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
Psalms 139: 14
Maybe you don’t see it, but you were made to be a masterpiece. Your unique appearance, gifts, experience, personality, passion, and so much more combine to create you. There is no other you in this world and my prayer is that you can accept that and live your own life the best that you can. I pray that you can live with purpose on purpose. I am sorry if you feel pain, but please let the beauty of you overpower the pain in you.
In loving memory of Andrew Ghim. You were a great client and friend. Rest in peace.
If you ever feel like you are not enough,
Suicide Prevention Lifeline
You Matter Website and Blog
Please talk to a professional or tell a loved one.
I’m definitely not a professional, but feel free to DM and I’ll reach out and we can work something out.