vive la dif·fé·rence

c275303So what’s wrong with being a little different – that is different from those around you – including (or even especially) those whom you love?

That’s the question I pose for us today, one day after Valentine’s Day.

I am struck by how often someone says to me, while attempting to explain the deep conflict they are having with a “significant other” that “he (or she) and I are just so different from each other.”

I understand the frustration.  I get that this person is often trying to wrestle with the sometimes very painful reality that his or her partner seems to be so different that there is little common ground to find anymore.  That’s when it can become easy to start looking for someone or something new.  You know,  “the grass is always greener on the other side” syndrome.

Watch out, friends, if you are beginning to think that way.

It seems to me that the ways we are different from one another can be a blessing, if we will let it be.  I believe God delights in our differences – our uniqueness – our special gifts – even our odd little “querks.”  In fact, if you think back, it might be the differences between you and your partner that once made your partner so attractive to you.

So, I say “vive la dif·fé·rence!”

Take a fresh look at your friends, your family members, your co-workers, your husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend – celebrate the unique personality you see there.

It may be that you can find fresh appreciation for, as Scripture says, we are all “fearfully and wonderfully made.”





By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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