I made an interesting observation after spending the past four days with 12 family members – We are all different! Of course we learn this at a very young age, and it keeps being brought home to us, sometimes with gratitude (I’m glad I’m not like them!) and sometimes with an inner sense of disappointment or dissatisfaction (Why can’t I be more like them?). And then often we blame or shame or put someone down (as least in our minds) because they aren’t more like us. What I noticed on our recent family vacation was that these differences are fun and interesting and help a group live and work cohesively together (most of the time anyway!).
You don’t like to fish? Well, someone else does and is glad to help the kids get a taste of it. You need a break from kids? There is someone who loves to entertain them and will spend hours with them until they’re tired out and needing some quiet time themselves. You are a whiz in the kitchen and have a gift for getting everyone fed? There are plenty of people who love to eat and will appreciate your gift. You need a certain amount of order and actually enjoy cleaning up and organizing? Priceless. You love to be on the go but still like to be useful and help others? You are the designated errand runner. Children have their unique qualities too. Some are more helpful than others, but sometimes the less helpful ones are the most entertaining! Or the organizers or the peacemakers. We all have a part to play.
This morning as I looked for information for a work project , I came across some fascinating stuff about archetypes in the book the answer to how is yes by Peter Block. He talks about the engineer, economist, artist, and architect archetypes. Everyone has their place – no one is wrong. The more we can understand and accept ourselves and others, the better we can work and play together, and the more we enjoy it. It reminds me of the Bible verses in I Corinthians: ” If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you’. And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you’.”
People are fascinating! Because I am an introvert by nature, I am definitely enjoying my time alone today reflecting, reading, and writing, but I also love being around people who are different from me and observing and appreciating them. We all have things we have to work on, and sometimes it’s appropriate to respectfully bring these things up to others and help them if we can. We also need to be able to receive feedback from others without being offended. If we love ourselves and others (have our and their best interests at heart), this shouldn’t be so hard.
I’m grateful for the few days I was able to spend with my family and already looking forward to next year. In the meantime, I’ll store up the memories in my heart and take the things I learned and apply them to my day-to-day life. Life is good. . .