Being human can be so dispiriting. It is a real stretch for me a lot of the time.
–Anne Lamott [from Grace(Eventually)
It’s hard for me to be human in this oh-so-human world. By that I mean, a person who willingly and obligingly interacts with other humans. Those humans would mostly be the ones I don’t know or coworkers or acquaintances, but occasionally includes family and friends. It’s also not that I don’t want to interact (and I don’t) but also that I don’t know how to interact. Those who know me personally may say that’s not true. But I am a very good mimic. I observe other people and if what they are doing is reasonable to me then I copy them.
A part of me is ashamed to admit I learned what little I know about leadership by watching Captain Picard on Star Trek: The Next Generation in the 1990s. That character seemed to me to be kind, caring, approachable, yet strong in standing up for the rules and what he believed in. Unfortunately, when I tried out those “learned” skills as a supervisor and manager in later years I quickly realized I was in over my head and the whole leadership-thing was a disaster. Sort of a ‘been there, done that, and never, EVER want to do it again’.
Caring and love of God’s human creations does not come naturally to me – unless you are family. A recent event revealed this to me after I prayed and asked God why was I a certain way with another person. I remembered something I read a long time ago – that the thing you dislike in another person is what you dislike about yourself, whether you recognize it or not. That person with whom I was not an example of God’s love for them, that person, doesn’t seem to care or love about anyone but themselves. And then I remembered my father was like that. Or, at least, that is how I perceived him as a child.
While that other person (and maybe my father) is unable to change that part of themselves due to a mental disorder, I, on the other hand, being aware of this issue within, will be able to change. Probably not completely, but at least some.
And that’s where God comes in to move mountains.
Only through God will I be able to see other people and their needs.
Only through God will I be able to act on those needs.
Only through God will I be able to show kindness and love to other humans.
I am learning I can’t pray this part of me away.
I can’t medicate it away.
And I can’t therapy it away.
But with God’s love and grace, I will learn – I am learning—to work through it, around it, over it and under it. God’s love and grace extends to everyone, not just me. I don’t have a monopoly on His love, grace and mercy. Nor should I withhold that same love, grace and mercy from others simply because I don’t like – or can’t be bothered with – to care about other people.
Only with God will I learn to be human.