I’ve always wanted to be an Impressive. You know the Impressives, don’t you? They’re members of that elite group of glittery people with nearly-perfect hair even on a windy day. Their clothes are always pressed, their speech always dignified, their nails always manicured. Those people. I really want to join their club.
But in the back of my mind, I’ve always known it ain’t gonna happen. A couple of weeks ago, that knowledge was confirmed because—and I forgot to mention this—the other thing I’ve always wanted is meatballs.
There I was, at a fancy-schmancy conference, at this high-fallutin’ dinner with white tablecloths and linen napkins, where everything you eat melts in your mouth because it was probably flown in from Paris. The meal was buffet-style, with silver tongs and chafing dishes. The Impressives were in front of me, behind me, all around me. I was saturated by Impressives, and I wanted more than anything just to blend in so they wouldn’t know I’m a member of their less-impressive sister club: The Imposters.
I’ve learned if I just keep my mouth shut and smile, I can usually fly under the radar at these things. Usually. But throw in a set of silver serving tongs and a pile of Swedish meatballs, and let’s just say it’s a recipe for a come-out-of-the-closet revelation. There was no way I was getting out of there without being discovered.
I’d handled the salad pretty well, and only dropped one stray piece of lettuce, but it was such a small piece, nobody noticed. The steamed broccoli and carrots weren’t a problem either; their shapes kept them from moving around too much. Unfortunately, by the time I got to the main course, my dish was already pretty full. Where would I put the meatballs? Was there room? I could either pass up the mouthwatering spheres, or I could take a chance and try to deposit one or two on my plate.
Did I mention I love meatballs?
I used the tongs to grab one of the tiny globe-shaped protein packs and dropped it in the midst of my vegetables. Unfortunately, it bounced off a broccoli and ricocheted off an arugula and rolled right in front of the chafing dish. I looked around, prayed nobody was watching, and sort of bumped the ball under the serving pan so no one would see.
I tried again. This time I gripped firmly. I took my time and gently placed the meatball onto my plate. That’s when someone said, “Excuse me,” and tried to pass. Well, I’m not that coordinated under the best of circumstances. Put me in a high-stakes situation with a plate in one hand and a set of pincers in the other and . . . need I say more?
That meatball rolled off my plate in slow-mo. I watched it fall down, down, down to the floor and roll to a stop, right in front of somebody’s designer boot. The movie reel screeched to a halt, and everyone in the room stared, slack-jawed, at my Imposter self.
Okay, they didn’t stop and stare. More like snortled and snickered. That’s when I realized the designer boots were also Imposters, and they belonged to me. I gently kicked the meatball under the serving table and moved on. I did not try again.
I found a seat next to a dear friend who knows I’m not one of them, and loves me anyway. I told her what happened, and she chortled. Then she told everyone else at the table. The traitor.
Then, like manna from heaven, my tablemates told me their stories, and I realized I was among friends. None of us were Impressives. But we weren’t Imposters either. We just . . . were. No club memberships. No in-or-out status. Just camaraderie, laughter, and a whole lot of love.
I like being a member of that club.
And then I realized, the most Impressive of the Impressives is actually one of us. He created us, quirks and all, and He adores us just the way we are. He uses our uniqueness and our eccentricities to bring diversity and acceptance to a world that often seems rather closed.
I just wish the guy who invented meatballs had the same kind of diversity in mind, and had made a few of them square.
“Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God,” Romans 15:7.