By Micky Wolf
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Which One of These is Not Like the Others?
By Micky Wolf
Not hard to tell the difference, is it?
Seems the slender, roaming tendrils of the robust, healthy sweet potato plants in the large, ceramic, glazed pot sitting on our front porch have found a new spot to enjoy the filtered sun.
What you can’t see from the photograph is the eight or so feet of vine that emerges from the container, wends its way across a short section of cement, than disappears into the bottom of the shrub—only to pop out at the top. At last check this morning, it has extended its reach another foot or so.
As odd as this developing botanical pairing might be, I find that it offers some interesting insight for all of us.
Let us not define a healthy, compatible relationship on appearance alone.
Yes, there are occasions when combining certain things could be less than ideal or appropriate. I would rather not have poison ivy growing in the middle of my bean patch.
Then again, what happens when I discover the poison of envy, fear, or hatred trying lodge a toe-hold in my heart?
Jesus goes to great length when describing this sort of thing, using no less, the metaphor of plant life.
He replied, ‘No, if you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat along with them. Let them grow together until harvest; then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters, “First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning; but gather the wheat into my barn.’” (Matthew 13: 29-30 NAB)
On the other hand, we must not miss a key difference with the potato vine and the shrub—neither is tare to the other. Each is wheat. Each is good. Together, they have established a unique support system.
And so it goes with you and me.
Maybe you see yourself as a shrub—kinda squat and sturdy, a welcoming companion to those who might drop by. Or maybe you’re more akin to a sweet potato plant—long and sleek, a wanderer, unafraid to engage with whomever you find yourself next to.
Either way, it seems that what might seem odd to us is of no surprise to God. Nor are we who He has created in His image and likeness.
May we treasure our uniqueness in humility and open ourselves to accepting and appreciating one another in ways that foster cooperation and unity, rather than suspicion and division.
Are you open to developing relationship with someone who appears to be different?
Is “not being like the other” feel unsettling? Why?