Are you special?
I’d like to ask you a personal question – “Are you special?”
Although we all probably know at least one extrovert ‘wise guy’ or ‘prima donna’ who’ll say “yes”, I’m guessing that the majority of us would say “no”. Many of us think that we’re pretty normal ordinary people, whilst possibly a larger number have low self-esteem. This is either because we don’t think we’ve ever done anything special, or it’s because the words and actions of others have made us feel worthless or insecure. Last month, I discovered that without knowing it I’m special to quite a few people – and it’s absolutely nothing at all to do with anything I’ve done. Nor is it anything that anyone can see. In fact, it’s something deep inside me that I would be totally unaware of if I hadn’t been told about it.
I’m a blood donor, and despite nervousness about Covid19 I still went to give blood last month. For a few years now, I’ve noticed the label “NEO” on my donations but had no idea what it meant. So, whilst the nurses had a bit more time to talk, I asked – especially as they said that they were really pleased to see me. Apparently, the special label on my donations indicates that I’m CMV negative. CMV is a virus that most of the population have had, often as a child without even knowing about it. However, once you’ve had it, it stays in your body for the rest of your life. It does you no harm but it can cause life-threatening illnesses to babies or anyone with poor immune systems. I mustn’t have ever had this virus, as there’s no sign of it in my blood. So my donations are marked as being suitable for giving to newborn babies and bone marrow recipients – and I know they have been used this way. So, I’m special and didn’t know it.
And I think that’s the case with most of us. We are special but we don’t realise it. We don’t acknowledge that we’re each unique with different attributes that are valuable. These attributes might sometimes be our skills and our talents, some of which we’ve worked on and practised very hard to be good at. But sometimes we’re special because of who we are rather than what we do. And that specialness is there even if we get other things in our lives wrong sometimes.
Monday was St Peter’s Day. Having been one of Jesus’ disciples, on the night that Jesus was arrested and condemned to death, Peter denied that he even knew Jesus – not once but three times. And yet, After his resurrection, Jesus forgave him and also gave him a special role in the Church.
None of us is perfect but we are all special. Of all the people in the world, you are the only one that is exactly like you. It can be challenging to be different from others, and learning to love ourselves for who we are can be a challenge too. But I want you to know that you are unique, and that God created you to be special. So please continue being the best version of yourself that you can possibly be…..
As children’s author Doctor Seuss says
Today you are You, that is truer than true.
There is no one alive who is Youer than You.