21 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!” I Corinthians 12:21
My husband (referred to as “my Lover”) is a wonderful person. He loves God and his family, is kind and sometimes cleans the house without being asked. He is a jewel, really.
But sometimes, he does strange things – such as leaving empty plastic Tupperware that once stored food on top of the countertop.
You might say, “Well, that’s not that strange.” But I ask you to look at the picture below where you will see the Tupperware by the toaster and, a few feet away the dishwasher – that appliance created to wash dishes for you.
So, why would my lover leave this plastic stuff sitting on the countertop?
Answer, it is just one of those strange things he does.
These strange things can also be called quirks, idiosyncrasies and just like we all fall short of the glory of God we all have these strange things.
So, with that in mind, I determined there must be something I do that is strange to him, so I asked, “What do I do that you think is strange?” Hesitating to answer because my husband wondered if this was one of those “no win” questions like, “Do I look good in this dress?” he cautiously responded, “I don’t know.” After I said a few “Oh, come on’s” he finally responded with “you sit alone in the dark with the lights off.”
So, of course I thought, that’s not strange and in fact, there are perfectly good reasons for sitting in the dark, but from someone else’s perspective it could seem quite vampire-like.
So this is just another example of how different we all are and how differently we see the world. We are all different, have different ways of doing things, different strengths and weaknesses, pet peeves and levels of patience, viewpoints and experiences. We’re different – what bothers one – doesn’t bother another. I have no problem with sitting in the dark and my husband has no problem with dishes on the countertop. In the long- and the short-run they are no big deal. They just are.
There are a multitude of ways to respond to differences but they essentially fit into two camps – appreciation or judgment. I could actually respond to the dirty Tupperware with appreciation by remembering that the food that was once there we could afford to purchase, also it was prepared by a wonderful person who prepared meals for my aging parents (which is all true). And my husband could respond to me sitting in the dark with an appreciation that I wasn’t nagging him and that I was spending time talking to God (which is also true).
There are some differences that are irreconcilable – such as differences in values.
But if you can get on the same page with mission and values, other differences can be managed and in some cases appreciated. Differences are necessary – God didn’t make us all the same intentionally so that we could rely on, relate to and appreciate each other. We have gifts differing.