“But It’s a Rectangle!”

by Beverly Hutchinson McNeff

My goddaughter, Lauren, will turn thirty-two this year. When a child’s birthday rolls around (even if they are grown), if you’re like me, a flood of memories comes to mind of when they were little. Thinking back on Lauren’s life, I was reminded of the following story that not only spoke of her insight at such a young age but also an important insight we can all learn from.

Grandma and Grandpa were taking three-year-old Lauren on a trip. As she rode in her car seat with a carton of juice in hand, she asked them where she should put the carton when she was done. They told her to put it in the cup holder. There was silence from the car’s back seat, and Lauren asked again, “Where should I put my juice?”

The response was the same, “Put it in the cup holder, Lauren,” said her grandparents.

Again silence was followed by, “Where should I put my juice?”

A little more firmly, the grandparents said, “In the cup holder.”

The silence was this time followed by Lauren’s declaration, “But the carton is a rectangle, and the cup holder is a circle!”

Lauren would not even attempt to put a rectangle into a circle, for she knew it would not fit. No matter how much her grandparents tried to convince her, she knew it would not fit!

The world and our past experiences try to tell us who and what we are. They try to make us fit into an image of ourselves that is not true. We may sometimes question it, but when “authority” speaks, we try to fit in!

It is time for us to say, “it does not fit.” We are not the image of our past nor the image that the world portrays; we are God’s holy child, inheritors of the Kingdom! Let us step back and allow a gentler image of us to come through. One guided by the Holy Spirit. We are not the image of sickness, poverty, injustice, depression, and guilt. We are the creation of God. He created us whole, healed, abundant, joyful, loving, innocent, and free. We cannot be otherwise. To live life in any other way is to try and make a rectangle fit into a circle.

The ego would love for us to attempt the process of analyzing and making the impossible possible, but it is time for us to arise without anger or frustration for the years of struggle and simply say, “This does not fit! I am ready to try another way. Help me, Holy Spirit.”

“I need but call and You will answer me.” (W-327)

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