We all have people in our lives that we place on pedestals. We tend to idolize people of influence or power. Now, I’m not speaking of the made-up people of influence, like celebrities, I mean REAL people. Perhaps it’s a personal friend who is a firefighter or police officer. Maybe it’s the next door neighbor who is a hospice nurse or the pastor of a church. We tend to place them in a hero’s stance that makes them unreachable. Their day-to-day life must be so fascinating every minute of every day. They must have perfect homes and perfect children, and perfect pets who never pee on the carpet. They can’t possibly run-of-the-mill people like us, like me!
The irony is that the majority of these outstanding humans did not place themselves on their pedestal. They were elevated by others; and yes, I agree some people of power and influence rose to the occasion by climbing on the backs of others. Some pedestal-people have achieved great ranking by overcoming great circumstances. The woman who has overcome breast cancer and now mentors other cancer comrades, the survivor who has overcome addiction and life on the streets and now advocates for healing and remedies encouragement. These people did not willfully choose the hardships and hurdles. They did however, choose their response to said trials by choosing to change the course of the outcome. And with those steps marching forward, they ascend, with each footfall, to the top of the pedestal.
I will admit, I have placed a handful of people on pedestals.
- I identified my dad as ‘my hero’. That is a title that I gave him, he did not choose it and likely never knew of his platform.
- I have a friend in leadership that I placed pretty high on a pedestal, I’m sure I was not the only one to do so.
- I met a SweetSoulSister who overcame unbelievable odds for her survival and success. Yet she did, and is walking others through similar steps.
I did not send each pedestal-person a gold tasselled, embossed invitation to rise up to the status where I have placed them. It’s more like I chose them, placed them like bobble-heads on a shrine to be adored. Everything is always sunshine and lollypops with these people, I’m sure of it! They are perfect-pedestal-people who are never crotchety-curmudgeons or piss-poor people of purpose.less.ness .(yeah, I made that up) And I’m sure they have never had a bad hair day or farted in public.
But this picture-perfect-pedestal-people-land is the place I created for them. I have created this snow-globe of happiness that never gets shaken. But that’s the irony; a snow-globe is at its most beautiful after it has been shaken. As the glitter and snow glisten to the ground, it dances it ways that you can never duplicate with a 2nd shake. This is the valuable lesson I have missed about my pedestal-people. They had to be shaken in order to achieve their nobility. I have only seen their snow-globe in a stationary place on a shelf. I have not seen the life events or circumstances that shook their entire world into a swirling dance that could have swallowed them under an avalanche. All the while, I was looking at the glistening snow flitting around so gently assuming all was gentle in their worlds.
The hardest element of the pedestal-people is finding out they are not perfect. I was broken to the core to learn this lesson. I learned that they are just…(gulp) human. How can it be that pedestal-people are really pe… oh yes, they’re just people. My dad was just a guy, whom I adored. I created a perfection in him that didn’t really exist. I was certain he had all the answers of the world in the palm of his hand, while in reality he had more questions and concerns than answers.
At the time I was wearing my big Scarlet-red “A” sweater, (it didn’t stand for Annisa either) I was certain my leadership friend would be the one person that wouldn’t question my character. They would be the head of the friendship-army defending my honor. The truth is, they were human too, they had questions and some disbelief. They were unsure how to respond to me and the consequential fallout. The fallout was tremendous and widespread and it left them questioning whether to sweep it under the rug or take out the trash.
My SweetSoulSister who gave me such encouragement and hope for humanity, whose smile is 1000 watts, whose story has inspired thousands… battled demons every single minute of every single day. A fight for her soul and spirit that she knew could drag her back under quicker than she could reach out to anyone. I will never understand that kind of warfare and never know the depths of the defeat.
To my pedestal-people, I am sorry. I apologize for placing you at an elevation that was impossible to live up to. Forgive me for assuming you are super-heroes and not simple- people who are super to me. My expectation of your perfection was unfair and unwarranted. I placed you in a position that would only lead to disappointment upon my discovery of your humanness. And while I may pray and plead with God to move through my daily struggles, I will pray for your struggles as well. For I understand that you are not perfect either. We live in a broken world, with broken people and need the support of others. Please accept my outstretched hand, not to walk you up to your pedestal, but to help you down from it, so that we might share the view from where we are – together.