“Are you kidding me mom! I’m home for 5 days and I want to see my friends. I don’t have time for this.”
She looked at me, hurt welling up in her eyes. “I just wanted to do something you enjoyed while you were home. You used to love this.”
I don’t remember what my response was but I’m sure it was nasty and hurtful. Because she is my mom and loves me so well, she let me go off with my friends and changed her plans for me.
I got in the car feeling guilty. Why am I so selfish? How could I be so disrespectful? The answer is simple. Living away on my own has made me possessive of my time. I do what I want, when I want, how I want.
This moment with my mom had me thinking back to a time this past summer. My friends and I decided to go walk around a local town and look at boutiques and go to cute coffee shops. Once we got there my other two friends asked “Can we go to the mall? I’m just not really feeling this.”
“Are you freaking kidding me. This is my day. I have been planning this for a week. We talked about what I wanted to do. We ARE NOT going to the mall.” I screamed.
I was pissed off. How dare they try to change my plans, and ruin my day? Because everything is about me, right? This was my day, my time.
Here I was each and everyday, waking up thinking I was the rightful owner of the next 24 hours. When people didn’t want to spend time with me or were to busy for me I walked around for the rest of the day with this “I can’t believe it” attitude. How dare they not want to spend the day with me, not want to do what I want, etc. Once again, everything was about ME.
Well, obviously no one wants to be labeled as selfish or self centered. However, I couldn’t think of better words to describe myself. And the scarier part was I was kind of indifferent towards it. I mean if being selfish made me happy then why did it matter. After all I was getting everything I want, right?
Fast forward a few weeks, I was reading “The Screwtape Letters” and stumbled across this:
(For those of you who haven’t read this book. It is written from the perspective of “Screwtape” who is a demon and is writing about the guy he is tempting. Just a little context on the quotation.)
“Unexpected things anger him because he regards his time as his own and feels that it is being stolen. Therefore guard the assumption ‘My time is my own.’ Let him begin each day thinking he is the lawful possessor of 24 hours.” – C.S. Lewis
These words from the book resonated with me on a whole new level. Could you imagine a world where everyone regarded the next 24 hours as solely belonging to them? A place where everyone was only working to benefit themselves? A complete and total self-centered world. A place where everyone was like me.
I knew I needed to change big time. But how? All I knew my whole life was me, myself, and I.
So, I figured a safe place to start was letting others in. Letting them choose where we ate dinner, compromising on plans, letting other people talk rather than turning the conversation towards me. Simple little things. Basically just letting myself be in the background more than in the spot light.
Now, I would be lying if I said I have perfected this (heck I’m not even to the point where I’m good at it), but I can only hope that each and everyday I am learning and growing. One thing I definitely learned is that change is a bunch of baby steps to make up one big step (trust me sometimes I feel like I am crawling to the finish line in regards to selflessness, but that’s okay).
Change is challenging, it sure did call me out of my comfort zone. But, I simply challenge you to let C.S. Lewis’s words resonate with you. I challenge you to make an effort each and every day to wake up and realize that all is a gift. That each and every person you encounter; it is their day too. That tomorrow isn’t guaranteed so make the most of the present day.
I know I usually have a lesson or an AHHHH moment at the end of my post, but we are all in this journey towards selflessness and humility together my friends.
Simply remember: ALL IS GIFT. So go out and LOVE and allow yourself to be LOVED.