Monday, November 10, 2014

It Takes All Kinds

This morning as I was driving home from Mass I was musing on this thought: I wonder how many of life's difficulties, big or small, are created when we presume that other people have the same perspectives we do.

I had been chatting with a friend about an idea. He is practical and his first thoughts are about how difficult things are and everything that could go wrong. I am ambitious and willing to work extremely hard to make things go well. It's not that one of us is right and the other is wrong. He presumes no one will pitch in and he will be stuck with lots of work. I presume everyone will pitch in, and by now I should realize that not everyone is as die-hard as I am. But I've seen things that he thought were impossible yield good results because people did actually come together and pull it off. And yes, some people just really enjoy doing difficult things! And some don't!

So I'm back at that pesky reality again in this post about how God has created so many different types of people with varying temperaments, gifts, strengths, and weaknesses. I used to really think I was just extremely defective, instead of simply different from others. (Oh, I'm defective, too, but not in the way I was thinking.) It is very, very good that my friend has the ability to make practical plans, and it is good that I want to pour my heart into a giant challenge, and we both need lots of other types to provide several other perspectives to really do something good to build up the kingdom of God. And that's what it takes -- each person offering who they are with humility, being no more and no less than who God has gifted them to be. If we really believe that God builds us living stones into a dwelling place for His Spirit, then we have to be willing to say "here's what I've got, now you show me what you've got, and you, and you, and you" and then, through us together, God does what only He can. Pride probably hides things as much as it boasts about things. Both are means of trying to stand aloof and keeping oneself untouched.

It has always impressed me that one of the first thing an authentic conversion produces is movement towards other people. Jesus calls Matthew to follow Him, then Jesus follows Matthew back to his own house and his own people. Jesus explains our judgment will be based on how we treat "the least of these, his brothers." Even a cloistered monastic who seems far removed from everyone is in reality praying and wrestling for the salvation of all and is in close union with the suffering of the world, because Jesus is.

If we were all the same, how could we love without simply loving only what we find in our selves? Perhaps humanity requires diversity simply because we require the exercise of humility and charity for salvation.

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