The Big Gift of Little “i”
“It’s a gift to joyfully recognize and accept our own smallness and ordinariness. Then you are free with nothing to live up to, nothing to prove, and nothing to protect. Such freedom is my best description of Christian maturity, because once you know that your ‘I’ is great and one with God, you can ironically be quite content with a small and ordinary ‘I.’ No grandstanding is necessary. Any question of your own importance or dignity has already been resolved once and for all and forever.” – Richard Rohr
What’s the difference between “I” and “i”? The answer pure and simple is the love of the Creator for all of creation. Once we accept that we are beloved children of the One who created everything from the chaos of nothing, then we are free to begin to really live. Instead of worrying about acquiring, possessing, and positioning, we are free to expand our horizons, interact with others, and celebrate every day.
The need to define oneself as a big “I” is transformed into the gift of the little “i”–the you (or me) that is not consumed by self, not curved inward toward want and desire. The big “I” seeks to always become bigger. The little “i” constantly finds ways to give part oneself away. The funny thing is this: in the giving of self, one receives more than enough to be filled and fulfilled. In acknowledging the love and acceptance of God, there is no need to constantly try to fill oneself with the praise and acceptance of others. All are equal in the sight of the Maker. Ordinary becomes extraordinary when the Spirit of God is allowed room to move and breathe in us. Small becomes enough.
The apostle Paul writing to the believers at Philippi said “. . . for I have learned to be content with whatever I have. I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me ( Phil. 4:11b-13 NRSV).
Living as a little “i” is indeed a big gift that keeps on giving. It’s a gift that improves with age and experience, and it’s a gift that comes to us wrapped in grace. Open your big gift and start living small today. i promise you’ll live life larger in the end.
Peace and blessing to you and yours!
PS: For more information on Fr. Richard Rohr, click the link on his name to be connected to his website.
Photo by mRio used under Creative Commons License. This images shows a cornea transplant from an organ donor that gave new sight to the recipient–just one small example of the big gift of little “i”.