Celebrate the Differences With a Difference

‘Mummy, why am I different from him’? The little child asked her mummy. The poor, illiterate mummy was puzzled at this question from her child. But she suddenly answered, dusting off her village wisdom, “it is because God wanted you to be very special and different from others, so that you should accomplish a special task given to you.”

The innocent question of the little child here is a gentle reminder to us, the so called ‘grown ups’ that everything and everyone in this cosmos is different and unique. Even if we sometimes, due to the everydayness of life, do not perceive the uniqueness, everything and everything is unique and different. Even the tiny stars we see as a spark from the earth are unique and different from each other. Even my dearest friend with whom I share lot of similar ideas and thought pattern is different and unique from me. This is an undeniable fact of our life and the reality at large. The question here is not simply to be puzzled by these differences, rather how we comprehend it and take it to our heart. What is the message to be unraveled in these differences?

As the village wisdom of the mother consoled the little child, we need to discover a greatest truth of life from the differences we encounter. The first truth of life to be unraveled is that I am different and unique. And everyone around me is also unique and different. Everything around me, the trees, plants, and the animals, even the tiny dew drop on the tip of the leaf and the drop of the rainy water on my palm is different. Enjoy the beauty of it now. Even this very moment of my existence is unique and different from any other moment that passed and that yet to come. Understand that each moment is a kairos (the right or opportune moment). And it is these uniqueness and differences that add beauty to our life. It is towards the backdrop of these differences I see the beauty of life. These differences are the canvas on which the Master Artist draws the marvelous and beautiful picture of life. Without these differences our life would have been so monotonous and boring. Can we ever imagine of a life where there is only one season, only one kind of animal, only one kind of trees, etc… Life would have been such a boring even in the cosmos.

I sometimes feel that even the contradictory aspects we encounter in life, even the differences, are really complementary. There is a deeper beauty and coherence in it, as the modern science encounter a marveling order in the so called disorder. The binary opposites of death and life, darkness and light, day and night, joy and sorrow, even the conceptual aspects of sin and holiness are really complementary. If there is no darkness we would not have relished the value of light. In this same way, life sometimes becomes a real celebration only with the differences we carry in our life. The differences in every realm of life, I mean. If there were no atheists what would be the beauty of theism? All these are the creative art of the same creator. Sometimes we used to say that atheism is the creation of the seventh day. There is a point in it!

All these differences are something that we humans can comprehend. We are created with a heart big enough to comprehend these differences. And that is what makes our life beautiful in our community life, where we live with people of different characters and temperaments. The success and joy of our life depends on the way we enlarge our hearts to accept the differences in persons, ideologies and in everything. So the differences out and around us should become an attitude within us, an attitude of openness and may be an attitude of eternal hospitality in the words of great philosopher Jacques Derrida. Without prejudices and questions, without grudge and hatred, let our hearts be hospitable enough to accept everyone and everything. And this is the message that we, Christians should proclaim aloud through our lives. Christ came to a world of differences and he accepted those differences even up to Calvary. His salvations was universal salvation. His heart was large enough that everyone had a place in it and it is through us today everyone should get a space in the heart of Christ. So if we can really make it, then our Christian life would become a celebration, a celebration of joy and friendship with everyone and everything. And of course, this is the need of the hour today in a world of growing intolerance and prejudices. Hence, it is not an option, but an obligation.

“You are different and unique; I am also different and unique. You are not here to become me and I cannot become what you are. But if we can create a space for these differences and uniqueness of each one of us, there occurs the miracle of friendship. And our life becomes a celebration, a celebration of friendship, joy and meaningfulness.”

Bro. Arun Madathiparambil CST