We're Not That Different

It's an age old concept that common ground unites people, and we love people who are like us.

A rocket scientist can strike up a conversation with a poet at a cocktail party and start talking in launch equations. He is capable of it. However, the poet's eyes will likely glaze over and he'll come up with any reason to escape after approximately 180 seconds (unless, of course, he is one of those saints who will listen and dialogue about something that neither interests nor benefits him).

If the same two guys live across the street from each other and the midwest has the most violent hailstorm since the 70s, the next day they'll stand on the sidewalk for half an hour talking about hail damage.

The things that unite us are greater (in number and size) than the things that divide us. 

This is a marketing tactic. The company wants you to think that no matter what, you're cooler if you own, drive, wear, ride, or eat this. And you're not the only one, it's for everyone else like you... Which is, well, everyone.

This is right and wrong.

It's wrong, because...

I am not like anyone. Neither are you. In my sage 22 years I have never met the same person twice. I've met people who remind me of people, people who look like people, people who wear their hair the same way, use similar hand motions, or look strikingly similar—but none of them are the exact same. 

Every person has unique habits, foibles, and talents. It's part of our DNA. No other person who has walked or will walk the face of the earth will be the exact same as you or me. We were created unique, you to be exactly you, me to be exactly me. We can make ourselves look identical but even if we stand next to each other, you and I duplicates, we still have different souls.

At the core of our identities, we are not the same. We are each sui generis.

It's right, because...

Every human is born unique. Maybe if each person was born onto a different planet, there would be no similarities between us. But we're not. We're all born into the same earth, and it has a few commonalities.

It is beautiful. The sun breaks the blackness every single day, and shows us colors and scenes we couldn't imagine if we tried. Birds sing, leaves turn flaming orange and blushing pink, and people fall in love. There are too many 'best' things about the world to count.

But it is also awful. We're born stamped with the postmark of sin—born broken, into a system that's broken, surrounded by broken people. We're programmed to do the wrong thing instead of the right thing, to tell the lie instead of the truth, to hurt instead of heal. Nothing about us is born redeemed.

We walk through life imperfect, bargaining with a system that's not gentle. We get bruised, shoved, and broken. It's inevitable. But God is the root of all good things, and He loves to give us gifts: the first kisses, the sunrises, the unquenchable joy.

Sometimes it will feel like the bad far outweighs the good. Friends die, family grows sick, babies never breathe oxygen this side of eternity.

And we keep finding more that we have in common, because the sun has been rising for hundreds of thousands of mornings and every one of those days someone gets hurt, maybe in the same way that you or I did. And realizing it gentles us, helps us mourn, makes us humble.

We are different, but we feel the same pain.

And so when what happened to me happens to you, I can cry with you. I can hold you, and be silent with you, laugh with you, and rejoice with you. And when the same thing happens to your kin down the road, you do the same.

It's how we find things we have in common.

It's how we love people who seem different.