Monday, January 31, 2011

Circle and triangle

I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. (Philippians 4:2)

I know two women who I’ve long thought I could blog about. For their sake, I’ll keep this anonymous, though I have nothing but the highest regard for both of them, and nothing I write here is meant negatively or critically.

These two women both love Jesus. They are both committed to serving him and other people, both live in the same Christian community, both want to see their church grow and flourish and bring honour to God. And being in the same house, they get to work at these shared aims together.

Yet this is where it can sometimes get a bit – well – tricky. It’s not exactly that these two women don’t get on. Actually, overall, I would say they have a solid friendship. It’s more that they’re just different. They can tend to communicate ‘past’ each other. Too long spent without any effort to communicate with each other and they’re thinking, ‘What is she thinking of?’ or, ‘Now why did she say/do/think that?’

They want the same things; they just travel in very different trajectories to get there.

If you’ll permit me to express it abstractly, one of them is a circle, the other a triangle.

‘Circle’ thinks in curves. She tends to feel before she thinks, is naturally spiritual and empathises easily. She flows well. People feel at ease with her. She knows how to have a laugh, too. Confrontation is not her strong suit nor is organisation (without a bit of concerted effort) – but people feel she loves them (she does) and, frankly, this makes up for most things.

‘Triangle’ is more spiky. People enjoy it when she expresses fire and vision, and she can be very inspirational. She’s articulate and has a strong personality. She thinks things through; she’s more motivated by ideas and the ‘big picture’ than the feelings of the moment. But sometimes people find her ‘scary’ and she can indeed lack patience. Perhaps people feel she’s insensitive (in fact, she knows this and agonises over it privately).

The interesting thing about these two women is that they are, in fact, a great combination. To misquote the apostle Paul, ‘If we were all circles, where would the angles be? If we were all triangles, where would the curves be?’

The key thing is this: they need to communicate. When their hearts are in contact and they ‘see inside’ each other, they really are a great combination and a source of strength to our community. Without regular communication, as I’ve said, they tend to stop understanding each other, until they may as well be speaking to each other in Greek and Swahili.

We’re all different. That’s certainly something to celebrate. But let’s keep talking, let's keep on communicating.

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