There is a picture of the corner of one of the counter tops in my kitchen. What stands out when you look at it is the fact that a piece of the grout is missing. It kind of bugs me and I’ve been meaning to buy some matching grout and fix it, but the other day I noticed something about what I noticed.
Years ago there was a show I absolutely loved called Touched by an Angel. One episode was about a woman who lived next door to a home for children with disabilities. One of the children was (yet unknown to the audience and characters at the time) an angel with a disability. At the end of the show he revealed himself as an angel not only to the woman, who had become disabled due to a stroke, but to the other angels. When he did, he commented how God had made an angel with a disability to remind people not to look at what people can’t do, but what they can do. During the entire show, even the angels treated him as if he was the sum total of his flaws. Even when dealing with him, trying to help him and trying to allow him to help the woman who was their assignment, they saw him as half flawed.
Looking at this missing grout that bugged me so much, I failed to notice all the other grout that holds this counter top together. I failed to notice the beauty of the counter top which I had initially loved because it wasn’t plain, white tile as were most kitchen counter tops I have had in the past. It’s beauty had faded for me since all I could see was what it was missing. And what was missing was a miniscule amount of grout.
People are like this counter top. We have flaws. Sometimes those flaws can be fixed, but sometimes they cannot. Sometimes they are quite obvious and sometimes they are hardly noticeable. One of my many flaws is that I am HTML Illiterate and Technologically Challenged. Though it’s been quite difficult for me at times, I have learned quite a bit about how to blog, update my website and host online seminars. I’ve “come a long way baby!” Am I still a Techno Idiot? Absolutely, but this techno ding dong can learn! It’s a slow process, but it can be done!
Another one of my flaws is the fact that I have no sense of direction whatever. I joke that I can get lost backing out of my own driveway and it’s not too far from the truth. It is a source of frustration for me and for my family, particularly my husband who could find his way home after being blindfolded and driven across country… in the dark! I just don’t have the GPS gene. I’ve tried to develop my sense of direction in my last 48 years on this planet, but I fear it is a lost cause.
As a directionally impaired and technologically challenged soul, I have a difficult time with simple things like my TV remote. I long for the old days when you had an “on button.” Now turning my TV on involves pressing two buttons for the TV and two buttons for the Cable, that is unless someone left the TV in DVR or DVD mode in which case I have to call my 11 y/o son for help. Apparently you need to push about six more buttons to resolve that! With as little as I watch TV on my own, I’ve never seen the need to get trained in such matters.
My son knows how much mom struggles with things that are simple for him and so often he neglects to see my other good qualities. His comments are sometimes spoken in a condescending way magnifying my flaws as if they make up the sum total of who I am. Sometimes those condescending remarks creep into other subject areas for which I do have an aptitude, yet he will argue with me because he just knows he’s right and mom’s wrong. After all, Mom’s not too bright if she can’t even turn on the TV! This is when I need to remind him that I have learned a wee bit in 48 years and just maybe that song WAS around in the 60’s and wasn’t actually written for Shrek.
Are you a glass half full kind of person? Or do you see it as half empty? Have you ever seen someone only for their flaws? Made a snap judgment about them and couldn’t see the blessings they had to offer? Ever run across someone who struck you as unintelligent, only to find they were a wealth of knowledge about something you treasured? Have you ever thought someone weak only to discover their inner strength and the story behind how it was developed?
You know what else I have found about looking for people’s flaws? If you look at the person as half flawed, you miss so much of the blessings God can give you though them. My engagement ring is a diamond. It is not a flawless diamond by any means. However, as I look at it, I don’t see the flaws. They are too small to be seen with the naked eye. I supposed anyone looking to purchase a flawless diamond would have missed the opportunity to have seen the incredible brilliance of this heart-shaped, well cut diamond sparkle and light up the restaurant when I was proposed to 23 years ago.
When we look for what we expect to find in someone, we are almost always able to see it. Further, what we look for seems to become magnified as under a microscope which obscures anything we are not looking for at present. In addition, when we look for someone’s flaws, we don’t see the blessing that is in that very flaw. A person’s weakness may be his greatest strength. It may be one of the endearing qualities that make him unique if we would only see it that way. Finally, seeing someone as half flawed sets the tone for our communication with him.
The more you expect Johnny not to understand math, the more you speak to him as if he hasn’t got math smarts. The more Johnny hears this communication, the more Johnny believes it. What would happen if you began to speak to Johnny as if he could get it? You know what happened to me when my web designer spoke to me as if I could understand my website? I began to feel like I could do it. The more competent I felt, the more I trusted myself and the more I learned.
So…the next time you are tempted to see someone’s faults, remember to look beyond the missing grout. Look at the person as half blessed so your speech can reflect the whole of who they are instead of someone who is half flawed.
JoJo Tabares holds a degree in Speech Communication, but it is her humorous approach to communication skills which has made her a highly sought-after Christian speaker and writer. Her articles appear in homeschool publications, such as Homeschool Enrichment Magazine and The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, which also endorses her Say What You Mean curricula, including Say What You Mean Defending the Faith. You can also find JoJo on web sites such as Crosswalk.com and Dr.Laura.com. For more information on communication FUNdamentals and Christian-based communication skills for the whole family, please visit http://www.ArtofEloquence.com