I have been thinking quite a bit about how different we all are. I find these differences intriguing and inspiring. I love how unique human beings are. I love how different we all are.
What gives me joy and fills my heart with happiness – probably isn’t your thing at all.
I love yarn and knitting and embroidery. I read voraciously – but haven’t played a computer game since seminary. I love flowers and GREEN and summer and being outside and sunlight. I delight in art. I hike and collect river glass and garden, because these activities fill my heart with joy. I love words. Numbers – not so much.
Jason loves reading and gardening and hiking too. But Jason has never knit a stitch and I doubt he ever will. Jason loves music, but music just isn’t my thing. If it isn’t a hymn in church – then it probably doesn’t pique my interest. Jason also plays computer games and the guitar.
Jack loves art. Art flows out of our oldest son and it always has. These days he is into screen printing and we have a screen printing studio set up in our basement. He enjoys gaming and hiking and collecting river glass. Jack doesn’t enjoy reading in the least, but he does love math and numbers. He loves music too. Jack actually tried knitting once – but it just wasn’t his thing . . . He also loves heights and climbing things.
Right now Will loves Godzilla and Nascar! He also loves playing on our trampoline with Jack. William can’t wait for spring so he can go snake hunting with Jack – but Will does NOT enjoy hiking. Will’s favorite subject in school is also math (such strange sons I have . . .) Will loves the color orange!
We are a family and yet – we are so very – very different. I think our differences are delightful and inspiring and intriguing. Without Jack – I would know nothing about screen printing or how to make anything in MineCraft. Without Will I would NEVER – EVER have gone looking for a single snake in my entire life! Without Jason all of the books in my home would be in English and I would never have grown a single ghost pepper in my garden.
My family teaches me so much by being different from me. They make my life so much richer because of what they expose me to just by being themselves. And it isn’t just my nuclear family. The other people in my life make my life so much richer – because they aren’t exactly like me. Because they are different. Because they like and love and delight in different things. They enrich my life by exposing me to new and different things and experiences and perspectives.
So often we can see differences as bad or threatening or as simply annoying. We can see other folks’ interests as boring. We can see differences in others as things that need to be changed/corrected in them. We might even demand that others see things our way to be right! We try to change others to be more like us. (My own family of origin was horrible about doing this, and my dad especially would declare to me “Kerri you don’t think/believe that” even when I was well into my 40’s.) But when we do this we lose out on so much. We lose out on the blessing and gift of learning from others. Our worlds stay so small. We don’t learn and grow and expand our understanding of the world. We are less blessed.
You don’t have to love Godzilla or knitting – but you can learn to see why someone else might. Orange doesn’t have to be your favorite color – but perhaps you can begin to appreciate what a cheerful – exuberant color orange is. You can see the beauty in a perfectly executed screen print even if you never want to screen print a single t-shirt, hoodie, or pair of sweatpants yourself. You may never want to catch a snake – but perhaps you can learn to appreciate the beauty in snakes (from a comfortable distance).
One of the reasons I love doing Bible study with others is the way I learn from other folks’ perspectives on what we are studying. I love the way life is richer when we have a diversity of thought and opinions and ideas. I delight in the way someone will read a story from the Bible and hear God speaking to us in a way that would never – ever have occurred to me. I love the way God has made us different and the way we can be blessed by these differences if we are open to it.
What are the best lessons your friends and loved ones have taught you? How have they expanded your world? What surprising places and adventures have your loved ones and friends taken you on over the years? (So many of these adventures for me took place without ever leaving my own home!) What have you learned? How have you been blessed?
What might you learn from your loved ones right now even in the middle of these trying times?
What could you learn from your loved ones over Zoom or the phone or through emails and texts? Could your grandson teach you about his favorite subject in school – his favorite book – his favorite computer game – or his latest passion? Just because it isn’t your passion doesn’t mean your life wouldn’t be richer and more blessed from learning about it!
You don’t have to change your favorite color or change the way you vote or your favorite food – but learning about why other folks feel the way they do will enrich your life and their lives too.
God made us all different for a reason!
You are in my heart – thoughts and prayers.
In Christ and with Love –