Friday, August 17, 2007

Understanding Me

One of the weirdest things about being a parent is watching your child’s personality develop and seeing yourself in them. When you see things in your kids that are like yourself, it’s like some kind of freaky time warp/psycho therapy session where you get to see how you became you… This doesn’t happen all the time because your kids are not you, they have their own unique personalities, but every now and then you get a glimpse into who you used to be, which I guess helps you understand who you are now.

For instance: Anna is not very fired up about swimming. No matter how many flotation devices we strap on to her, she still freaks out in the pool if all four of her limbs aren’t clinging to us like grim death. She understands how water wings and tubes work, but she still isn’t ready to go under the water or try swimming on her own. She gets this from me… see, Christy swims like a fish and always has, but I was afraid of swimming for a long time. Like Anna, I am not a fan of new, unknown and possibly dangerous things, no matter how much fun other people seem to be having with them. I can still remember the summer I decided I would try to swim under water… It wasn’t until I was well into elementary school, and I spent the preceding Spring drawing pictures of water with two legs coming out, telling everyone about how I was going to do handstands under water… those drawings were received with very little enthusiasm and a lot of sarcastic rolled eyes as everyone was like, “Yeah right.” But I did it, and on my own time… just like Anna will one day.

Way down deep, most people probably think that “…if everyone were a little more like me, this world would be a lot easier to live in.” I think that’s because we sort of understand ourselves… it’s also why we have so many misunderstandings with everyone else… People think, “Why doesn’t everyone love square dancing?” or “Doesn’t everyone think QVC is the coolest?” or “What could possibly be more fun than watching reruns of Bonanza and CHiPs?” It is such a good thing that everyone is so different, with different style, musical tastes, sensitivities, fears, insecurities and sense of humor; however, it's these differences that make relating so hard. I mean, when it comes down to it, I don’t even really understand myself most of the time… how am I supposed to understand someone that is totally different from me? I don’t know why I can’t stand peanut butter and chocolate together except when their powers combine in two very specific desserts, but that’s part of me. I don’t know why I hold grudges against actors when they play really messed up characters, but that’s just the way it is, William H. Macy!

It’s bad enough knowing that we’ll probably never really understand each other, but what about the fact that when it comes down to it, I don’t even get myself?! If I don’t fully understand me, can anyone else? This week I was reading Psalm 33, and verses 13-15 say this: “From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind; from His dwelling place He watches all who live on earth – He who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do.”

The One who made my heart knows it. He made it the way it is so that it closes up when I’m surrounded by crowds of people I don’t know and then bursts open when I hear a Dvorak symphony. He knows why I don’t like to dive into change, but take it slow and at my own pace. He knows why cheesy and sappy movies and stories always make me cry all over the place (even when I don’t want them too) because He formed my heart… He designed my personality. He considers everything this heart of mine does because He made it. He made me this way… He gets me. He understands me… and He likes me.

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