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Made to Be
What does it mean to be irreplaceable?
Does it mean being the best? The most beautiful? The most athletic or the smartest? Or is it enough simply to be loved? Is it even possible…or is everyone replaceable?
How do you know when you can be replaced?
I believe that to be irreplaceable is to be one-of-a-kind. This can be either good or bad, or a complex harmony of both, but the place held can be usurped by nothing else, purely because that place did not exist until its holder was born. For me, being irreplaceable means leaving behind my tattoo on people’s hearts that never fully fades; leaving my signature in their souls scribbled in indelible ink. It means burning my outline into the places I have been, a stamp that says, “I was here. I was here, and I mattered.” It means saying, “This is who I am, and you cannot take that from me!” Perhaps through time, the colors of the ink might change. The design might shift in one direction or another, or may even be torn away as a first draft and entirely rewritten, but forever, it will be me.
The first time I met irreplaceable was the day I met her. She had long, blond hair that she would later dye black and light blue eyes that would someday turn green. She was beautiful. She was (and may still be) testing different designs, still stepping cautiously out onto the waters of Who Am I?, but she left her mark on my heart, a decoration I never forget. It was her hand that guided mine when I began to sketch my own image, her words that helped voice the first verse of my song. Forever, she is stained into my soul.
The first time I understood what irreplaceable meant was the day he wore a sign advertising “Free Hugs.” It was a one-day event during my freshman year of high school. He wore a chain on his pants; his hair was too long; he spoke his mind far too honestly for comfort; he was confident (and consequently intimidating); and he was shyly offering me a hug.
Now that is irreplaceable.
No one has ever known what category to place him in. He is a category all on his own, and he is neither afraid nor ashamed of it. He is who he is, and without apology, he is different. He fits no stereotypes, bends to no classification, and is strangely repellent of all attempts to contain him. He is irreplaceable, the very definition of the word, and this is that elusive answer to the many why questions I have received; this is why I fell in love with him.
It sounds strange, but the first time I really, truly knew I was irreplaceable was the first time I saw him cry. It was the summer after our sophomore year, and we had been dating since that September. I had just come home from a mission trip and was having difficulty breathing. It was as if I had suddenly developed asthma. I was with him at the park, laughing, when I suddenly could not breathe. It was several minutes before I could fully catch my breath and still longer after that before I could inhale normally again. I had never seen that look on his face before. He pulled me onto his lap so that I was sitting sideways, his arm supporting my back. I put both arms around his neck and closed my eyes, trying to relax. It was a few minutes before I realized that my arm was wet. He was crying.
At that instant, I knew that to him, I was irreplaceable.
It has been more than a year since then. I have changed in many ways; the colors of my tattoo have shifted. I am no longer the same girl I used to be, but I know, in the deep part of my soul, that I am irreplaceable. I know because of the friends I call in the middle of the night, because of the boy who holds my hand, because of the family who will do anything for me, but most of all, I know because of the cross that hangs around my neck. Someone died for me. There must be something, somewhere deep inside of me, that is irreplaceable.
It is not always easy to remember this. It is not easy to walk with my back straight and head held high. It is not easy to remember to honor the One who made me irreplaceable. It is not easy for me to write this.
People were not made to be replaced. I have been wholly created, wholly broken, and I am wholly saved as one-of-a-kind. I am not always sure where I’m headed. I am not always sure where I am. Someday, I pray that I may become the kind of Christian, writer, friend, and woman that I was created to be.
Wholly and truly irreplaceable.