Welcome back to the Encouragement Series of blog posts today! Hopefully this will brighten your day, even though it's not really related to eyecare. Feel free to "like" and share on social media so that your friends can receive the same encouragement.
The Making of a Symphony
Now, I won't claim to be especially well-versed in music, though I did play the Viola back in junior high school. So that makes me an expert, right?! However, there are a few concepts I want to bring up that we can see in music.
In the performance of a symphony, there are a plethora of instruments present that create a symphonic orchestra. Each of these instruments have a unique role to play in the performance, all coming together to make a beautiful sound consisting of melodies and harmonies. But not only do each of the instruments play a unique set of musical notes, but they also have very unique qualities to their sound (timbre). This means that situations where different instruments play the same note, they sound very different to the listener. A masterful composer utilizes all of these differences to weave together story, emotion, and beauty.
As you're well aware by living on this earth, humanity is a beautiful mix of unique individuals. Sometimes each of us may fall into certain classifications—like nationality, religion, social status, ethnicity, culture, among many, many other things—just like instruments may fall into classifications, but it doesn't detract from their uniqueness, and in fact the uniqueness actually makes everything better. Our differences as humans make life more fun and exciting! Further, they can inspire us to become better individually and collectively.
For those of you that are married, you may share many similarities with your spouse, but you likely have many differences as well. My wife, Kristin, is naturally more empathetic than I am, but as a result of being around her, I naturally tend become more empathetic for those in our circle of friends, family, and even acquaintances.
In the optical industry, we see this as clearly every day: the same pair of glasses that look silly on one person look amazing on another. Some people may prefer bold colored glasses, while others tend to prefer a more subdued palette. We could choose to only have glasses for one type of person, but what would be the fun in that?!
Our differences make us beautiful, they make us human.
I feel like right now, while we are dealing with greater social isolation, we are looking more to social media and other digital connectedness to compensate. The fact that we have these tools is amazing! It truly enables us to have some form of connection outside of our households. However it carries with it all of the negatives that have always been present with these tools.
Sometimes in these small snapshots of life, we try to only portray only our best side. We show the things that we happen to be doing well. There's nothing inherently wrong about it, but I think it can lead to false expectations. I know for me, seeing availability of all the online museums, and home exercises, and glimpses "homeschooling" excellence can sometimes be discouraging. Kristin and I are doing our best to keep up with working, guideing our Kindergartener with schoolwork, trying to ensure we have some semblance of dinner to eat, and all the while worrying about the ModernEyes business finances, wondering if we have enough money available to get us to some unknown date in the future where we might be able to gain government assistance or the world will be "back to normal." It's exhausting trying to keep up, much less take advantage of everything else we could or should be doing! And then if I begin to see others seeming to thrive, getting everything done and going above-and-beyond the call of duty, it all weighs on me even more.
"Embrace the imperfections, the authentic, the human!"
So I am writing this as a message to myself, and to others. Embrace the imperfections, the authentic, the human! I truly believe that all of us are struggling in some way as a result of this situation in our world. Some are certainly struggling more than others. Even those who are doing pretty well comparatively may be struggling with underlying guilt that others are worse off. I want to challenge you to not be afraid to express your worries, fears, and struggles to those in your circle. Be true to yourself.
You are the only one that's in your situation. Nobody else. If you're handling it the best that you know how, then you're doing it perfectly. Yeah, there's probably room for improvement, but if that weren't the case, we wouldn't be human. You might see "tips" from those around you, you can see if that helps, or you can blaze your own trail!
We also can try really hard to celebrate the good that we notice around us, rather than compare it to our lives. Just like if I were a clarinet player, I can celebrate the way a violin played a melody. The clarinet will never produce the same sound as the violin, even if the same notes were played. Further, if the clarinets got jealous of another instrument's part, and began to play that instead, the symphony would suddenly be lacking something. The symphony would be less full, less beautiful. Instead of being jealous or down on ourselves, we need to focus on doing our best in our unique situation.
Go forward and do your best in your situation! It is more than enough. That's the way we will create a beautiful symphony of humanity.