The Permission You Seek

I know how your life will change. You’ll be in public—perhaps at park or alone at a restaurant. You’ll be sitting there thinking about your problem. It’s always the same variation of questions about your own self worth. Are you enough? How can you possibly be arrogant enough to proceed? What will people think of you?

A man walks up to you.

“Excuse me, are you…you?”

Confused, you stare at the man. He sighs and pulls an old scroll from his bag. You notice that he is wearing period clothing, although what period, you’re not quite sure. Something is off. Is he too short or too thin? He is remarkable, but not noticeable.

“It says right here that you are supposed to be here right now.”

He will roll up the scroll and brandish it at you.

“We need you. All of us are counting on you to be here. And not the version of you someone else wants, or some idealistic you. It needs to be the real you.”

He gets to his knees and holds his hands together pleading.

“So please, don’t tell me you left that you at home. I’ve seen that happen so often in the moment where we need people the most.”

He collapses on the ground, shouting:

“Don’t tell me that you are hardened against the world. A bitter version of you will do us no good. If you turn your back on those around you, then surely, we are in trouble.”

“Don’t tell me that you think we’re beyond saving. It’s your time to carry the torch and show others the way!”

His eyes are teary as he pulls himself up and gets within inches of your face.

“I know that the true you is in there somewhere. The one who will help lead us where we need to go.”

He puts a hand on your shoulder; he’s the empathetic coach building you up after you blew this for everyone.

“Don’t give up on that you. Despite everything haunting you from your past and every fear of the future, we need the true you now. It may not be today, it may not be tomorrow, but you will be called upon.

“Don’t wait for permission from others. Don’t fall in line because you have been criticized. Those who came before you were violently opposed. You can’t handle a few objections?”

“Don’t change because you feel misunderstood. Be you and find the people who need you. Even if they don’t know it yet, you have so much to add to their world.”

You make a noise to interrupt, but the man waves you off, he’s somber now.

“This isn’t about playing a part, it’s about fulfilling your obligation. So many hide from the light in this moment. We were told that you would rise to the occasion.”

He pulls a notepad and paper out of his bag. Flipping to a blank page, he looks up at you, expectantly.

“I need to report back. I need to know if we can count on you. Even when it’s unpopular, can you hold true to your beliefs and values? Will you be standing in the spot where you’re meant to be when the time comes? Are you going to show up?”

And only then, will you have the permission you thought you needed.