“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein
I first heard this quote from one of my closest friends my freshman year of college. At first glimpse, this quote seemed strange to me, but little did I know it explained all the struggles I had been experiencing for so long. Rewind back to my elementary school days, I always was the smartest and best behave student in the class. To be second was to be a failure in my conceited eyes. Even in my dance classes, I was always the best. I was the teacher’s pet that knew every piece of choreography. I was always the student the teacher could presume to remember what we learned last week. During all those years of always being the best, it never once crossed my mind what it would be like to not be the best for once.
In fifth grade, I got my harsh awakening when my dance teacher informed me that I would never be able to have pointe shoes because I was not “blessed” with good arches. She explained how I naturally had flat feet which meant I would never have strong enough arches to be able to dance on pointe. For the first time in my life, I was no longer the best. In fact, I instantly became the worst dancer in my class because I was the only one not “blessed” with good arches. For the next eight years, I lived my life like the fish in the Albert Einstein quote. I spent those eight years of my life believing I was not “blessed” with any gifts or talents because I was being judged solely on my feet.
It was not until I staffed SFA Awakening 49 Retreat that I finally realized that how naturally flat my feet are has nothing to do with my gifts and talents. For this retreat, I served on cook staff even though I had no idea how to cook. The entire retreat I was separated from the rest of the staffers and retreaters because I was in the kitchen. Although I did not hear any of the speakers or activities, I had the most eye opening experience of any awakening I ever attended.
One beautiful part of our Catholic faith is the Mystical Body of Christ. This teaching of the church sometimes gets thrown to the side because it does not seem like that big of a deal. However, it really is an important part of our faith. This teaching shows how we are all connected and working together with Christ as our head. It is the teaching where we see how Christ uses each of us to help one another grow closer to Him. It is the teaching that explains that each of us are given our own unique set of gifts and talents to best help serve the world in our own way. If everyone was given the same gift of public speaking to spread the gospel, then who would be left to spread the gospel through medically helping those with illnesses?
My eyes were opened at this awakening because I realized just how important it was for us as cook staff to serve everyone at the retreat not by talking, not by praying, not by comforting, but by cooking. More specifically for me, I was serving every one at that retreat by sweeping the floors and doing the dishes since I did not know how to cook. It was humbling to see how even the smallest jobs can be so essential to bringing Christ into someone’s life.
That was when I realized, I really am a part of the Mystical Body of Christ. God specifically made me the way I am to be His hands and feet on earth by using my own unique set of gifts and talents to serve Him. This whole time, I had been so focused on not being “blessed” with dancer’s feet that I forgot to see the bigger picture. Some people are called to be Christ’s hands and feet by spreading the gospel through the beauty of their professional dancing on pointe; I however, was not. I was called to be Christ’s hands and feet in a different way. He used my passion of dance to help start the dance group of Dancers of the Son. He used my organization and passion of leading others to Christ to help coordinate SFA Awakening 50 Retreat. He used my love of writing and my own personal experiences to help me write this article to help you in your relationship with Christ. All of these things share one thing in common: I can do them with my flat feet.
This, my friends, is the beauty of the Mystical Body of Christ. God gave each of us a task to serve Him in our own unique way using our specially designed gifts and talents. All we need to do is stop comparing our gift of being a fish to our ability to climb a tree. Instead, we need to give ourselves completely to God and let Him show us how He made us special to do His divine will. Once you finally use your gifts and talents the way He has designed, it truly is amazing to see how God planned for you to be the hands and feet of Christ in your own unique way.
Katherine Theresa Elizabeth Janusa is a lover of the Catholic faith and all kinds of dance! She is an Elementary Education major with the hopes of working at a Catholic school one day so that she can share her love of the faith with her students. She has been dancing since she was four years old and will never let anything, even her flat feet, stop her from dancing. She hopes to learn how to cook soon so that she can actually serve God by cooking while being on cook staff at Awakening next year.