Tuesday, September 30, 2008

It's a Snowflaky World

I've been turning over the premise of a study I've been doing in my mind for a couple of weeks. The premise is that we start out life as maverick-like Individuals...we have all these hopes and dreams and ideas in our youth. Children revel in themselves and love to feel special. Then we grow up and begin to make decisions. A funnel effect occurs as we make one decision and rule out 10 others, and so on down the line. One day we wake up in a life that looks eerily like the lives of every other person we have surrounded ourselves with. You look around and see very little variation in the landscape. Everyone is thinking, doing, feeling, talking and living...exactly the same way. And all of a sudden, you feel a little Trapped. That's when you know that the Individual part of you is feeling smothered, shoved into the back room closet.

It's so interesting how we are made. God made each one of us completely unique - no two exactly the same - just like the snowflakes. But he also made us so alike that we have many, many things in common with the other humans. We're all snow, after all, even if we're also all flakes. And isn't is such a delight to find common ground with a new friend or a writer's words or a piece of music ...it Resonates. And you say, YES! I have felt that. I have thought that. I believe that. And it's a great feeling. It's simpatico. Commonality allows us to feel connected. Individuality allows us to feel special. And God, brilliantly, made us with both halves of the same whole. Individual, but yearning for connection. Unique, but made for community.

I think one of our downfalls is when we cannot appreciate that dual nature in others, or in ourselves. We swing too far either way and forget that the most natural place is right in the middle. Some cling to their individuality at the expense of their connections with others. Then come the feelings of isolation and resentment that no one understands. Some become obsessed with conformity and begin to drown in self-imposed rules about how they "must" act or dress or think. Then come the feelings of entrapment. If only we could regard ourselves as God must. Completely unique and precious individuals, who are designed to love and be loved by their understanding journey-mates. This is why I love travel so much. It is a reminder that anywhere you go in the world, people are very different. And very alike. See? Snowflaky!

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