As you scan the crowded bus for a seat, you see a familiar book cover. Ah, somebody’s reading the same book as you! At the cinema, the crowd’s in-sync surround-sound laughter triggers a split second where awareness meets detachment – you’re again reminded that we’re not all that different.
We co-exist in the same time and space, together with a lot of people. We are passersby in the blurry background of a stranger’s story – hundreds of times a day – but that sense of vagueness is easily broken by a smile, a collective chuckle in a movie, a “today weather very hot ah“, a shared interest with a fellow human …
These connections tug on our heartstrings to the extent that you allow it. And if you do, the music that it makes cannot be ignored. There is something grand and poetic about our existence – listen close enough and you’ll hear it.
But life is never easy to navigate. It’s like buying furniture from IKEA, you have to assemble it, put things together. And you cannot opt for assembly service.
“Top of the World” by the Carpenters was my favourite song growing up. Back in the day, home printers weren’t a thing yet so I would hand-write the lyrics on paper and sing my heart out to it.
“Such a feeling’s coming over me, there is wonder in most everything I see.”
That was my favourite line (if I really had to choose one) from the theme song of my childhood. When I first stepped foot into primary school, I was that kid who was always filled with wonder and ready to conquer the world.
And you can probably guess what’s coming next.
The rose-tinted lens through which I saw life began to lose its sheen. Nothing seemed to be happening for me anymore.
I didn’t feel as special as I used to, my family was falling apart, and I was lagging behind at school.
The new recurring theme of disappointment in my life made me consider if perhaps I was born just to be a film extra – a calefare, a nobody – in the grand scheme of things. Maybe I just wasn’t main-character material.
Yet in my heart, I knew that it wasn’t so. There was a gulf that had to be bridged – one within my very conscience. How could I possibly feel like a nobody and a somebody at the same time?
“You’re nobody till somebody loves you
You’re nobody till somebody cares”
(Russ Morgan, Larry Stock, and James Cavanaugh)
These lines are from the famous pop song first published in 1946 and made popular by Dean Martin. It’s one of those things that sound like a truism. But is it?
If a child came up to me, crying, saying that he feels unloved, I probably wouldn’t tell him that there is a possibility he might be right, even if I felt that way about myself sometimes.
I would ask him about his parents, his friends and his family. And even if the evidence shows that that child is indeed unloved by all the people who should have loved him – we know in our hearts that he should be loved.
Some of us would rather be convinced that we are not nobody, but isn’t there greater comfort in knowing that we’re loved by somebody?
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
God, the King of all Heaven and Earth, fought to be our somebody.
Regardless whether you believe in God, the fact remains: God loves you and so gave His life so that you may know His love for you.
And if there’s even just a smidgen of hope in your heart that you are not nobody, despite what circumstances might suggest, would you consider the possibility that it is because God – the greatest Somebody – first loved you?
Even before your parents could, even before anyone else did, He loved you.
When someone says that “Jesus died on the cross for you”, it can sound quite jarring. I used to think that it was a bit uncalled for since I didn’t ask Him to die for me! But if Jesus didn’t die for us (John 3:16), we cannot say for certain that He loves us.
Would you consider the possibility that it is because God – the greatest Somebody – first loved you?
We are all valuable because God first loved us. And that is the firm foundation for our worth, one worthy to build our lives upon (2 Thessalonians 3:5).
What are the things that give you a sense of security in your worth as a person?
Is it a big loving family? A great group of friends (#squadgoals), a 10/10 spouse, or a promising career?
If there is even a chance – no matter how slight – that those things may fail you, then it is at best shifting-sand when compared to the security that God’s love promises us.
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)
Knowledge of this Love frees us to persist in wonder, no matter what life throws at us.
You’re somebody because God loves you!