Monday, December 04, 2006

Same but Different

I expressed to my sister just the other day how much I appreciate the ways my husband is different from me. It hasn’t always been so. For example, when we first got married, I couldn’t come to terms with his sense of urgency. I’m pretty laid back, and here comes this guy (living in my house) panicking over things like running out of cereal and flipping the laundry at just the right time and the dog choking. When he kicked it into high gear, something in me automatically went into neutral or practically reverse! Now, however, I realize how much I appreciate that about him. As I said to my sister, if our house were ever to catch fire, thanks to him, we’d probably make it out alive. I’d most likely burn, waiting to be sure it was a true emergency!

Over the past few weeks, I’ve wondered if perhaps we get it backwards sometimes when it comes to the uniqueness and commonality of man. Don’t get me wrong; I know that I’m unique and there’s no one like me (for which many people are thankful!) But should the emphasis be on me – on my uniqueness? Or should I instead seek to embrace the uniqueness of others? When I go shopping, when I’m at church, when I pass my co-workers in the hall - do I see a blurry grey sea of mankind? Or do I see a sweet older woman who’s paid her dues and deserves to take a few extra minutes at the check out to be sure her receipt is correct? Or a hardworking dad committed to serving his fellow Christian? Or a co-worker who always seems to be concerned with helping a friend?

At the same time, I’ve found a certain comfort in knowing that I’m not so different from the next guy (no, make that “woman”). In spite of my tendency to pepper my stories with superlatives (I had the roughest day, the worst headache, the most unbelievable thing happen . . . oh and of course I have the worst job), how many times have I been relieved to learn I’m not the only woman struggling with a certain issue? God assures me no temptation can seize me but that which is common to man. (I Cor. 10:13) And I think part of that assurance comes from the commonality we share with mankind. Not only that, but Jesus as my high priest (Heb. 4:15) faced every kind of temptation imaginable – he understands. He sympathizes with my weakness. And yet as God, he did not succumb to sin.

When I stop and see others as individuals created by God, with strengths I can learn from and weaknesses I can relate to, the picture comes to life in vivid color. And when I see the big picture in such a way, it humbles me and helps put things in perspective. Yes, I’m unique and special to God, but it’s not all about me.

11 comments:

Barb said...

How blessed you are, Dianne, that you can even stop and realize it's not all about you. Rushing through our lives has become the norm. And when we do that, we forget to see the individual. It easily becomes a blur of humanity.

I will say this. As I get older, it becomes easier to slow down and appreciate the unique qualities of every single person I know.

And you and your husband are just like me and Rob, only opposite. He's so laid back I'm constantly tempted to check for a pulse. I'm such a "response" person he just stares at me and shakes his head. And laughs. I think he's probably got the better approach to things.

:-)

Kelly said...

What a great post! So challenging for me as I interact with others on a daily basis. I think you beautifully articulated what we should strive to be as the body of Christ.

pauline said...

AMEN!!
pauline in au

Blessed Beyond Measure said...

My daughter Sarah and her husband Chris have come up with a saying, "it's not about me." It seems to be being spoken more and more by our entire family. A good thing. It's NOT about me, or any one of us. Great perspective, great post.

Gail said...

Our pastor has talked to us about that too, "it's not about me"....very good reminder, thank you.

Katrina said...

Great post, Dianne. It's always a challenge for me to focus on others (other drivers, other shoppers, other people waiting in the pediatrician's waiting room) and it's far to easy to focus on me. I've got it backwards most of the time, I fear. Thanks for the reminder and the challenge.

Tami Boesiger said...

What a great way of thinking! Boy, did I need to hear this!! Thanks!

Jennifer said...

Yep, you're right. That's compassion--seeing people as unique individuals. I loved your specific examples. Thanks for making me think.

Susanne said...

Oh, Dianne thanks for that reminder. Like Barb, I am a "response" person. I certainly needed this reminder especially now that the busyness is kicking nto high gear.

Stacy at Exceedingly Mundane said...

Wow, another really well-written, totally thought-provoking post. Well done :)

I echo what Barb commented - "as I get older, it becomes easier to slow down and appreciate the unique qualities of every single person I know". And life in general. And, as Barb said, you and your husband are identical to me and my hubby, but just opposite. I'm frenetic at times and he's an ocean of coolness. :)

Wonderful post!

Laura said...

How interesting to have a husband who is the opposite of most husbands I know! :)