I really enjoy the discussions that Rachel and I have. We come from very different backgrounds, but push, pull, and challenge each other for the better.
We spent most of Monday morning on the road to Fredericksburg, where Rachel would meet up with others from the staff of AAUMC for a planning retreat. I went along for a couple of days of reading.
On the way, Rachel told me about a conversation she and her older sister had soon after both were adults. Rachel shared how she had always wished she had the poise and intelligence of her older sister. To her surprise, her sister shared the admiration she had always had for Rachel’s strong, natural relational skills.
It reminded me of a conversation (by email) my older brother and I had several years ago. I had confessed to Richard that I was as much as giving up on my PhD. The stress of going through a divorce with a nearly-teen-aged daughter while pastoring a church meant something had to go, and that something would be the dissertation.
Richard had already completed a PhD, and I had always looked to him as an example and for academic encouragement. His response caught me off guard; he shared that he had always admired my people skills, and had sometimes wondered why I sought the academy when I seemed so gifted for the interpersonal requirements of pastoral ministry.
It’s really a deeper version of the truth I learned a long time ago: people with straight hair (generally) admire and wish they could be like people with curly hair, and vice-versa.
Why does it seem so many of us are good at noticing and admiring the strengths of others and overlooking, feeling insecure about our own?
Perhaps if we could learn to share more openly we could all learn to feel better about ourselves, too.