Spring arrived in our part of Florida last week, with a flourish of pollen and new tree leaves. It amazes me how various oak trees handle spring. Some are totally covered in nothing but pollen, others shed brown leaves as bright green ones push them away, while some simply send out slender new leaves, tentative steps toward turning green. And others are ablaze with color. All oaks. All different. Maybe it’s the pollen, but I can’t help taking this deeper. With all the diversity in our world, what is it in our psyche that wants to box things in, group them all the same?
Do you remember as a kid, when houses all looked like this?
And we drew trees like this?
And people, depending on our developmental age, like this?
We’ve grown up from that place, and those who, like many in my family, have artistic skills can paint a wonder of houses, trees and people, none alike, and all wonderful.
YD painted this.
Sometimes it looks like houses to me, and sometimes people. When I asked her recently what it is supposed to be, she said she wasn’t sure. That is a clue to her winsomeness — that she doesn’t need to nail it down, put it in the box of “house” or “people.”
Snowflakes . . . Fingerprints . . . DNA . . . No two alike.
The Creator obviously celebrates differences, or there wouldn’t be thousands of different kinds of insects!
So why do we expect, or want, people to all fit in a box? In the land of “I did it my way,” and the supposed importance of the individual, it surprises me how much we want to herd others into pens of alikeness.
How little we really tolerate anyone who deviates from the norm, unless, of course, it’s our norm.
Here come some stereotypes – sorry, I can’t avoid it even to make my point.
If you’re in Arizona, you want to seal up your border with Mexico and suspect everyone who looks “Mexican.” (Never mind that Arizona was once a part of Mexico and the oldest families, once Mexican, have been ranching there for hundreds of years.) But if you live in Oregon, then the citizens of Arizona are intolerant, stiff-necked red-necks, not worthy to call themselves Americans.
If you don’t believe me, just read the letters to the editor for a few days, or listen to the talking heads on the news stations.
Attacking the different ones, and the different ones attacking.
Sadly, sometimes we are hardest on ourselves. How many times do we test our worth by how well we fit in with those around us?
Why should it hurt so much to be different?
I couldn’t resist adding this video.
(photos this week from my cell phone)