Represent!

13 07 2010
“We represent the Lollipop Guild and wish to welcome you to Munchkinland.” Wizard of Oz

Here’s the word: represent. Defined by the Urban Dictionary, “represent” is a verb meaning, A phrase showing acknowledgment to one’s background, home, social group, or original place of residence. Also similar to giving a shout-out to one’s homeboys as illustrated in this dialogue:

Interviewer: So you’re from West Kelowna?
Interviewee: That’s right, homeskillet. K-Town, represent!
(TK: haha)

Perfectly clear? Let’s move on.

Here’s the question: do I “represent” honestly? If I don’t, what’s with that?

Proverbs (in the Bible) presents an interesting nugget to think about today

One man pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth (13:7).

Why would one pretend to be rich when they aren’t? Here is what I came up with:

  • because wealth spells success and who doesn’t want to be seen as successful?
  • because wealth attracts people and who doesn’t want to be attractive?
  • because wealth is smart and who doesn’t want to be smart?
  • because people listen to wealth and who doesn’t want to be listened to?
  • because wealth is somebody and who doesn’t want to be a somebody?

Why would one pretend to be poor when they aren’t? Here is what I came up with:

  • because wealth creates complications and who wants complications?
  • because wealth makes you accountable and who wants to be accountable?
  • because wealth can be blinding and who doesn’t want to be seen?
  • because wealth is a magnet and who wants to feel stuck with all that?
  • because wealth is a conversation and who doesn’t want to talk about something else?

I am looking at both sides of this coin and can only see trouble for the person who misrepresents. Unless one makes a careful habit of keeping relationships short and light, our real life will eventually be exposed, and then what?

Whether one has a lot or a little, many believe that possessions define us and we are either ashamed or resentful as a result. With this attitude we believe either that we aren’t really worth knowing because of what we don’t have, or we suspect that we are only known for what we do have and are left wondering what we are really worth to others.

I can see how either way is lose-lose. Wealth (have it or don’t have it) has got to live somewhere else in our lives.

I think God calls us to be exactly who we are, where we are, wholly, humbly and honestly. But the harder exercise in all of this is asking who we really are and where we really are honestly. Pretending to be poor or pretending to be rich is saying something. What? (That’s yours to figure out)

If we “are” our economic status, that is exactly how others will see us; why would we expect anything different? What do people hear us talking about? What do they see us passionate about? Where are we spending our time? Is it our wealth or lack of it that dominates our conversations? Is it our driving ambition to succeed? Is it our catalog of wants? People will refer to us by what we reference most often.

If our lives are about something more, then our wealth (have it or not) becomes a foot-note. Or will it? Won’t having and not-having still loom large in people’s assessment of us? Assessment is an exercise that requires information. If we want an assessment that more fairly represents who we really are then we have to put out what matters to us.

We have to represent what we represent.

— Teresa Klassen


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