In his "Oscar" acceptance speech this past Sunday for Best Adapted Screenplay for "The Imitation Game," Graham Moore gave a moving report on some of his earlier struggles in life. He said, "I tried to commit suicide at 16 and now I am standing here. I would like for this moment to be for that kid out there who feels like he doesn't fit in anywhere. You do! Stay weird. Stay different, and when you are standing on this stage, please pass the same message along."
For the last two months, my son Jackson has been doing something most people would consider "weird," as he participated in a wilderness adventure program called Aspiro in central Utah. For 60 days in the dead of winter, he lived off the land. He backpacked, mountain-biked, skied, snow-shoed, rappelled, and learned primitive survival skills exploring hundreds of miles of God's glorious, snow-covered creation. He never slept in a bed or even sat on a chair, often tolerating temperatures in the single digits. He lived off of rice and beans, vegetable mush,
oatmeal, and one small can of tuna and one small jar of peanut butter each week. He read books and did a lot of journaling.
Jackson said it was the hardest thing he has ever done, but also "the most gnarly thing!" You see, Jackson had been in a funk and needed to change the trajectory of his life, and so I pulled him out of his public high school at the end of the fall. I couldn't be prouder. Some might say living outside in the winter in Utah is weird, and yes, it is. I don't think I could do it.
But here is a profound truth: we are all weird, my son, me, and yes, even you. We are all different in our own way. Who said we were supposed to be "normal"? Why in the world do we so often homogenize our person-hood, compromise our values, and bend over backwards to "fit in," while denying the very qualities that make us the beautiful, intriguing, interesting, and yes weird people that we are?
Let's celebrate our differences and salute those who think and act outside the box. God has made each one of us unique and from scratch. Embrace your "weirdness" for you are one in seven billion. You are God's masterpiece. So stay weird!
Prayer for Today
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. -Psalm 139:13-14
O God, I thank you that I am unique. Help me to celebrate my uniqueness in bold and audacious ways. Amen.