But it, humanity, is just not that way. Foremost, nature is quite asymmetrical: mountains, water, trees, weather. It’s messy out there. And what about us? We’re messy, too. All of our humanity, the best and the worst of us, is wrapped up in a very untidy package of emotions and indecision and mistakes and relationships. Perhaps we covet symmetry because we are by nature so broken.
What I personally find enlightening, however, is having reached a point in life where I notice that extreme beauty occurs in the quirky unevenness of a person’s face or in a deeply complex experience.
Take the nose I’ve inherited. I used to lament this hump in the bridge. It’s not cute or even straight. But it’s a mark of where I come from and to whom I belong—it’s slightly Romanesque, I’ve decided—and so I’ve come to appreciate it. It’s beautiful for a reason that’s messier and more meaningful than its first glance asymmetry.
And like a humble desire to serve, and with a heart for Africa that my mother graciously gave me, I go, with my imperfect nose, because of a call to serve, which I also inherited, to be a human among other humans by serving in the name of the human God gave us to model ourselves after.
I had to learn that appreciation for imperfection and humble service through messy, asymmetrical life experiences though, didn’t I? There’ve been so many, refusing to write, notwithstanding, out of a fear of failure. How spoiled is that? I’m mortified to admit that. But this trip feels very much like a crossing over for that. Stepping out is part of how I’ve prepared my heart do it.
And so, off I go, recognizing that it will take me an ounce of bravery to travel a sea that separates my egotistical cowardice from people for whom I have prepared my heart, knowing that I will fall madly in love with those who are filled with absolute joy in spite of having almost nothing—THAT is bravery, and it’s a kind of courage I need to live the more purposeful life I’m called to live.
What I need is humility. Waves and waves of it. And therein lies the symmetry I seek to fulfill. My desire is to pare myself down to the barest of humble bones and in that state, be of service to other humans. What else is there? Isn’t this the most crucial part of our journey in this life? To serve humanity? It’s the legacy of our humble Christ. I owe that.
Life is messy and gray and tough and wonderful, full of shared experiences bringing joy and aid and work and service to other human beings, precisely what makes this messy life so purposeful.
And there’s a symmetry and asymmetry in that—both of which my heart in humanity seeks.
“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders/let me walk upon the water/wherever You would call me” (from Hillsong’s “Oceans”). Please pray and send out your thoughts for our team, for the people we will serve, and for the countless broken, weary, hungry people here and abroad who are waiting for all of us to be in our purest, humblest form.
And so, off I go.