I love the Lord; he hears my voice and my supplication.
(Revised English Version)
We have a whippoorwill that lives in our yard. Each night at the appointed time, the whippoorwill's song begins. Personally, I love it. The whimsical, predictable song opens the night and can lull me to sleep pretty quickly.
But others don't. When we have guests, we hear about the bird the next morning. "Irritating," "obnoxious," and "consuming" are just three of the words others use to describe my beloved songbird. It seems that the gift of the whippoorwill is not treasured by all. What I love is despised by another.
Life is full of whippoorwills. We love some things as if they were the best that life had to offer while others can't stand them. (Here, I think of my son who doesn't like chocolate to the amazement of the rest of my family, whose name might as well be Wonka.) The challenge is living among the differences.
When I can celebrate your opinion, I open myself up to the multiplicity of God's creation. I don't have to like what you like, but I can honor your opinion. It's when I demonize the things you love that I cut myself off. With something as simple as a whippoorwill, that seems a bit silly. But it's a good example of bigger things: the multiple faces of God, cultural traditions, religious expression, politics.
What whippoorwills do you need to hear in the lives of those around you? What songs do you need to hear in their lives so that the abundance of God's gifts can be known more and more in your life? Can you begin to imagine the love you might discover in a God so diverse?
God of all, open me to your life in diversity around me. Help me hear your voice in places I have not stopped to notice and in people I have put into the background. Amen.
Copyright ©2006 Michael Sullivan.