Mar 14, 2013

What's In Your Suitcase?

I watched a TEDTalk recently that gave me pause. Most TEDTalks do that... let's face it, these people are at the top of the food chain. I might be able to run faster or punch harder, but they have brains the size of footballs. They will beat me.
Not sure what they will beat me at, maybe grabbing the last french fry. I thought of that as I read a post from a friend on Facebook, who encouraged others to not apologize to her when complaining and whining. I think we should all apologize for that, but she was referring to the person thinking their problems couldn't compare with my friend's.
This friend walks a gut wrenching path with a beautiful daughter who has complicated special needs. She has become an advocate for parents around the country. A voice of reason, a sounding board, a safe place to crash.
Her point is this, we all have disappointments, disasters, griefs... don't apologize because your situation may seem insignificant in comparison to another person's. Share your pain and burden, trusting that person will pull you close, hug you hard and offer a prayer up to God.

It made me think of the gifts we carry around with us. Some come from pain and grief while others come from personalities and character traits we are born with.
This reminded me of the TEDTalk I watched.
This brilliant Wall Street lawyer shared her childhood passion to be a journalist. She loved to read and write. She was pushed in another direction.
Her words were focused on introverts vs extroverts. She is an introvert, but was constantly forced into the world of extroverts from an early age. The message she heard growing up, over and over, was this...
Introverts should become extroverts, because that is better. 
Like it was a choice. 
We sell that message to our children, our mates, each other.
We do. Do we realize it?
I didn't.
My daughter leans more to the introvert side. She will tell you that. She is bright, deep, sensitive, thoughtful, generous, fun and... can be quiet.
She is not me.
I make her tired sometimes.
She told me this... I was shocked.
Slack jawed.
Then I saw her. Maybe for the first time.
I am so grateful she understands who she is and owns it.. doesn't make excuses for it.
She is perfect.

She also loves extroverts, but she needs to go away from them, from time to time.

We all bring things to this party called life... or un-party if you are really an introvert.
Each of us carry a suitcase through life. It holds value, gifts, lessons, treasures, blessings. We must open this suitcase and share these with each other.

If you are an introvert you can teach me things I may not understand. Solitude. Quiet. Creativity. Good listening skills, Focused attention. Ability to form deep relationships easily. These gifts come easier to an introvert, who is also humble and quiet about their accomplishments.

The extrovert is energized by others. Easily makes small talk with strangers. They tend to think as they speak... which can lead to trouble. I know this first hand. They are the life of the party.

Truth is we need both, and one does not trump the other. The suitcase overflows when we combine our gifts.
Let's share our gifts, our burdens, our lessons, with one another. In deep admiration and respect we have much to learn from each other. Don't make excuses or apologies for who you are. Learn to bless others with all the character traits and gifts God gave you.

And if you are like me... a little extroverted, take a breath from time to time. We might hear something we have not heard before... another person's voice. :)

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