This message was tucked quietly inside a fill-it-in journal my daughter received for her last birthday. I was flipping lazily through the book, noting finished puzzles and clever drawings, and almost missed this requisite page. I wondered how many elementary aged kids could define adequate. I was struck by the profundity of the simple sentence. To tell a child, to tell anyone, that they are awesome, that they are powerful, that they are enough, is a gift.
We share many traits as members of humanity, including our most basic fears. Has there ever been a human that didn’t wonder whether or not they were adequate?
Is what I have enough?
Is what I do enough?
Am I enough?
We are quick to tell our loved ones that they have earned all the wonderful things in their life, that they don’t deserve the bad. How often do we believe that of ourselves?
We accrue possessions and track account balances, trying to get ahead. We look at the problems in our world, in our homes and feel certain that there is nothing we can do to improve our lot. We walk around in our heads, wondering if our thoughts are acceptable or if they deviate too far from the norm.
What is there to get ahead of, besides ourselves? We battle the past, sleep through the moment, and worry for the future. We waste away the cognitive seconds and leave our lives to wither – thinking instead of what may happen, what did happen. Immediate decisions often prove the hardest to make. To choose is to collapse all the possibilities into one certain path.
When I was introduced to Lung Leavin’ Day, I realized that my greatest fear and fault is inaction. Paralyzed by my anxiety over doing nothing, I end up doing nothing – a self-fulfilling prophecy at its worst. My desires are on par with Icarus, but I know better than to use wax to build my wings. Sometimes it seems my only tools are candles and the only choice I have is how spectacularly I want to fail. Shall I watch my work melt into nothing or burn it all in bonfires?
Climate change. Poverty. Overpopulation. Hunger. This short and incomplete list of problems facing our global civilization can make anyone want to cower in a corner of helplessness.
Concentrating on the world at large is hard, but doing so when our own lives are out of order seems impossible. When our relationships snag or our bodies splinter, the world is reduced to the microcosm of our personal bubble. Can anything bigger matter when our lives are glued together at the cracks?
All Icarus really needed was some creative engineering.
America is finally taking steps to combat pollution.
Our generation can end poverty.
Family planning and contraceptives are the answer we already have.
There are ways to fix our failing food industry.
Time heals wounds and the chipped veneer of our personalities are made all the more interesting for having been fractured.
I don’t know if I am rad. I know I’m not fast. But I know I have more than candles. Most days, I know that I am enough. Some days adequacy isn’t enough. On those days, I hope my wings can withstand the sun.