Being someone who enjoys words and ideas, I read quite a few blogs. There are those I read because I’ve genuinely come to appreciate what the author has to say. Their ideas are challenging to my own, and they have a way of expressing themselves that makes me grin.
Fun, after all, must be involved somewhere.
Others I read because I respect who the authors are as individuals, whether it’s because of my relationship with them or their street creds. Knowing someone has accrued knowledge or wisdom from whatever they do suggests I should consider what they have to say.
Others I read because they are so different from me. Background, experience, lifestyle.
We’re all so very different. We’re not defined by gender, race, political predisposition or socio-economic status. Nor by our backgrounds, families of origin, or opportunities.
All these things influence us, but none of them truly defines us.
We’re defined by our decisions. Our choices.
And goodness knows, we all make different ones.
I’m fascinated by the differences even in families. How kids, raised by the same parents in the same environment, can turn out so differently.
There are a lot of us living in close quarters this summer. Family that hasn’t lived together for awhile. Throw in some grafted in kids that aren’t blood related, and you have a potpourri of personality traits, strengths and weaknesses.
How in the dickens do you navigate such familial waters?
The problem comes when they don’t agree with me.
I know I’m not the end-all when it comes to understanding all things. Or all people.
That would be God.
But when I have an opinion–notice I didn’t say conviction–I’m pretty cemented in it.
I think I’m right.
So when someone comes back at me and disagrees with the way I’m handling a situation or becomes upset because I didn’t agree with their feelings, I become–how do I say this kindly–concerned.
Which trashes all that I’ve said about allowing people to be different. Giving them space and grace to be themselves without commenting or criticizing their opinions or choices.
Makes me a hot mess.
The things I say I love and admire are often the things that drive me to distraction.
What I’m learning is to try and give people the space they need to be themselves. Make a conscious decision to allow them to express their differences with an agreeable demeanor with no attempt at managing their response.
God does that for each of us.
Created in His image, made for relationship with Him and others, to live in community with ability and capacity to care for and rely on others, we are complex and quixotic, funny and frenetic, needy and necessarily needing each other.
Space and grace. Giving time to let people be who they are.
Definitely a work in progress on that.
But a work that’s worth the effort.
How are you at extending space and grace to others?