The sheath that held her soul had assumed significance – that was all.
F. Scott Fitzgerald penned these words to describe the stealthy transition of Anthony Patch’s feelings for the beautiful Gloria in his book The Beautiful and Damned. I was flipping through the book–one of my favorites, as is anything by Fitzgerald–looking for some turn of phrase to use as a blog title. Fitzgerald stands as a testament to elegant turns of phrase and I knew I could rely on him for inspiration.
I have, however, taken the phrase out of context and impressed upon it my own understanding. When I titled this blog “Assuming Significance” I wanted it to mean something other than two people falling in love. No, my immediate attraction to the phrase is due more to my own projections onto it than anything else.
My generation seems to be suffering from something I’ve heard referred to as “Special Snowflake Syndrome.” So many of us have been told our whole lives that we have these gifts, that we are unique and special, and so many of us grow up believing that–or at least holding on to an inkling that we are in some way remarkable, if only the rest of the world could see it. Comforted by this thought, this shred of optimism we can cling to, we quite serenely relax into a world of social media and television, secure in our ability to do and excel at almost anything, if only we really wanted to.
We all believe ourselves to be significant.
What I have struggled with is submitting to this placidity. Surely, we are all capable of significance. And surely, we are all made up of a unique set of thoughts, abilities, and experiences that make us different from all other people. But what good is that, any of it, if we do nothing with it?
We are not all significant. We are all, however, potentially significant. There is a void in the world that exists, waiting for you to fill it if only you would.
We are not born significant–but we can assume this significance.
To become significant, we must take steps toward making ourselves a resource to others whether in our communities or in the world at large. One cannot be significant standing alone, out of context. A person can only be significant in relation to other people. Significance is measured by our impact upon others.
Cooking a meal for myself is not significant.
Cooking a meal and sharing it with friends, strangers, or given to someone else is significant.
This is a record of my attempt to reach out to others, to make a difference in anyone else’s lives. The reasoning may seem selfish, but to me it is a motivator–any gifts I may posses, any creativity I may have, any kind thoughts that run across my mind can’t do anyone any good if I’m sitting on the couch keeping it all to myself.
Significance is about more than being special snowflakes; it’s about embracing what makes you special and sharing it with the world to make it better and to be a part of something bigger than yourself.
Here I go.