I admit I’m probably too romantic, given my badass background. But, as I was walking along the beach near my cabin yesterday, I couldn’t help but notice, not the endless layers of wave-driven pebbles that covered the sand, but the variety of pebbles in the collage. Millions of pebbles. No, more like hundreds of millions.
Our lake is unique. Lake Winnipeg has been ripped from the landscape by Ice Age Lake Agassiz. It left a considerable depression in the prairie, making it the third largest Canadian freshwater lake and the eleventh largest in the world. But Lake Winnipeg sits right along the dividing line between Manitoba / Saskatchewan limestone rubble and bedrock and Ontario’s Precambrian shield granite. Thus, on the sandy beaches of this lake, we find an eclectic mix of pure quartz, feldspar, mica, slate, shale, granite and limestone (fossils included). Each type of rock has a different density than the other and different defects, strengths, cracks or fissures.
I collected stone after stone for almost an hour, examining these rock fragments that had been hit by the same water, the same ice, and the same wind and rain as any other pebble on the shore. None were the same as the next. Nor did he expect them to be the same. However, I couldn’t help but marvel at two things: 1) How supposedly the same elements, in the same environment, could be so uniquely different and 2) How we generally look along these shores of the lake and see sand, or rock or water, like a conglomerate. , but they fail to appreciate the differences in each granule, and the beauty in individualism.
As hard as the rocks are, they eventually transform into something special and different. However, despite how fragile we humans are, we hope that everyone thinks like us, agrees with us and conforms to our standards and beliefs, regardless of their background, the blows they suffered in life and their particular harshness. or weakness. We hope that others will be us, but it bothers us that they usurp our special place in the world.
Anyone in a medium-sized family can attest to the truth that no two children, not even those born as identical twins, end up exactly the same. That’s because there are nuances in the way they experience life, in the way they are treated, and in the information they absorb.
Don’t you think so? Come into your living room and take a photo. Now go to the other side of that room and take another. Upload them to your computer and examine them. Do you see the exact same thing in the same way in each image, or does everything look from a different perspective?
The problem with each of us is that, no matter how close we are to another, we each hear and see the world from that specific point of view. An identical twin talking to her mother in the kitchen may not be heard by her sister in the next room, or the mother’s response may be missing in a key inflection of the voice, or in the nuanced hand gesture that accompanies a comment. So now that twin has a unique experience that uniquely impacts that person. It is the proverbial Chinese cliché about the flapping of a butterfly’s wings. Everything since then has been altered, no matter how small the change.
In our own lives, understanding the impact of small adjustments in experience is critical to finding our oasis in life. We all need to seek, not our neighbor’s dream, but ours. We are special. We are unique. We have ideals and aspirations that we may not yet fully understand. But trying to reflect the supposed successes of your friends is only to invite discouragement, when you discover that it is not as satisfying for you as it seems to be for someone else.
Your coworker has a Lexus. So you must also need one to be happy. Your doctor vacation in St Kitts. So you must go there too to be successful. You read about this exciting life in the Far East, so you leave, only to find that you feel lonely and discouraged, because your family and friends are more important to your enjoyment than you thought.
You are nothing but a pebble on a remote beach. I am nothing else either. But, for me, that is more than enough, because I have learned that, being a pebble, I am unique, individual, wonderful and irreplaceable. You too!