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  • Writer's pictureMarianne Wieland


Pedestals can change the look of a room or of the landscape. They can hold anything from flowers to art to priceless antiques. They are often put at the entrance of a long driveway to signify that someone of importance resides on the property. The basic work of a pedestal is to raise something up to a higher level. A place of importance. But how about other things that are put upon a pedestal? Hopes and dreams. People. Places. Objects. Love and desire.

The point is that many put things upon a pedestal, where they assume an unreal importance in life, far above reality. Most of us have done this at one time or another, and again, I will use myself as an example. Most of my life I have wanted someone or something that appeared far above my reach. I have spent much wasted time wishing my life was like that of someone else. Why can't I have a wonderful, happy marriage like that couple? Why can't my grades come as easy as hers? Why do I have to work harder to get the same results from my employees as the other offices who have ideal workers?

What I have found, by elevating things on pedestals to levels of greatness, is that they have nowhere to go but down. Once I start longing for or watching the lives of others, I find that somehow, I become privy to the reality of the situation. And I find that what I wanted for myself, was not really anything to be idolized. I could see the flaws and, in doing so, found myself resentful toward the situation that I put on the pedestal in the first place.

The thing about pedestals, of any kind be it ornamental or situational, is that they are easily knocked down. And once knocked down, never quite the same in your own eyes and heart. This past year, after meeting so many wonderful people of Bangladesh, I put an entire country up on a pedestal. Also, many people of the country on pedestals as well. No one asked me to, and the fact that I knew better, made no difference. I fell in love with the culture and with a few people. But over the past year, I have counseled many. Been put in situations causing me to see reality more clearly than I had wanted. I wanted to believe in a country that was perfect. People that were perfect. And that was wrong of me.

I have found that these beautiful, but human, people are not much different from my own. I found a country with governmental issues, issues of race, crime, poverty, and families in crises, just like my own. People trying their best to overcome these problems with strength and dignity. Working together to find solutions. And the individuals I had put on a pedestal? I found humanity. I was unhappy with the choices they made, but I never considered the options they had to choose from. I still love the country. I still love the people. But in the real world this time and not up on a pedestal.

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