When it comes to the issues of our day, it seems like there is more focus on the things that separate us then there is on those things that can bring us together. For example, a friend of mine is a huge fan of Levi jeans. He has numerous pairs of Levi jeans, many are purposely purchased for a variety of occasions such as going to a concert or for business meetings. He even has a pair specifically for funerals. Now, another mutual friend of ours is a Wrangler guy and very devout at that. They would argue and kibitz about which company has the best jean, finding fault in everything they could to get the other to make the change. They tried to draw me into the argument once but it was short-lived. You see, my brand, WIOS, Whatever Is On Sale, could be Wrangler, Levi, Costco stretch jeans or thrift store whatever jeans. For the casual observer, it could seem that these two would soon come to blows and I have even witnessed some pipe up and get involved in the discussion. As a counsellor, I sit back and watch the dynamics and, for the most part, the debate degrades into a head butting contest and so many are left with feelings of anger.
Differing opinions, preferences, ideals and beliefs can be very divisive, especially when the people involved are only interested in telling you why they are right and you are wrong or they are not willing to really communicate, that is to both listen & speak. It is when we recognize the value of another’s opinion that we truly grow and the fullness of a relationship strengthens the whole.
Here is another example. My friend had some leftover scrap wood hanging about in his garage. There were several types of wood, a variety of colours and grains. It represents two things in this illustration; diversity and worth. There are those out there who will only use cherry and others who vehemently defend the use of maple for projects. When someone who is looking for beauty and strength in diversity, the thought of combining materials is intriguing, the idea of making something wonderful out of what others would consider scrap is a talent. When people devote time and effort into celebrating diversity rather than putting time and effort into not only seeking out the negatives but also propagating divisiveness, we can revel in the beauty of a united community. My friend took what others saw as scrap, a collection of garbage leftovers, cleaned them up, trimmed them and glued them together making a beautiful cutting board. Had there been an argument as to which wood should have been used or how it should have been put together, I dare say we would not have been privileged to share in the beauty of a one-of-a-kind cutting board made with love and care. Apart, we are nowhere near as resilient as we are bound together in community, strong and beautiful.
This Sunday, we will look at strength in diversity and unity. We would love for you to join us either in person or online Sunday at 10:30 AM MST.
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