Sunday, March 22, 2009

Embracing Our Differences

I spent the day Saturday at an interpreter workshop. The leader was fabulous - I really liked the way she presented her information and the way she engaged the audience. I got to meet a few new people, challenge some of my thinking, and work on some of my "receptive" skills.

At one point in the early afternoon, the leader asked everyone to write down "pearls of wisdom" they would pass on to someone wanting to enter the field of interpreting. I thought to myself for a while - How could I POSSIBLY even BEGIN to answer this question? I don't work "in the field". I haven't ever been a part of an official "Interpreter Training Program"... two semesters in college (YEARS ago!) and weekly meetings with my mentor, that's it.

And that was when I remembered a conversation I'd had earlier in the day. I'd met another woman who knows and works with my friend. We were talking about some signs and the way she did them - and how beautiful it is to watch my friend and mentor interpret music. There was something I'd wanted to tell her, but the workshop had restarted already. .

My "pearl", I'd realized after several months of interpreting at church - nearly a year, truth be known. For months before, as the music was playing and I was signing, I'd see my mentor signing from her seat. Generally speaking, if I'd get stuck on a word, phrase or concept, during some of the non-musical portions of the service, she'd "feed" me the sign. At first, I thought this was what she was doing.

I was aware of the fact that our signs didn't always match. At first I though "I must be wrong", and would try to figure out my mistake as the music pressed on. And then I realized, she's wasn't critiquing me. She wasn't even paying attention to me. She was worshiping. The signs she had chosen to express the same concept were just different. Not better, not worse, just different.

We all have different life experiences, different "filters" through which we receive, process and express words and concepts. On one hand, it makes life "interesting" (to say the least)... on the other hand, it keeps life interesting... Thank You God.

If we were all the same, we wouldn't be able to learn so much from each other! We wouldn't challenge each other to become our best selves.

My Pearl: "Just because she does it differently than I do, doesn't mean my way is necessarily wrong."

I spent many years trying to "become like" this person or that person. Now, the goal: Becoming the ME that God has created me to be.

3 comments:

Carrie_in_TN said...

I'm glad you got that because, quite frankly, you rock.just.the.way.you.are. And oh, how much some of us have learned about being ourselves from you!

Cathy said...

I needed that today. I've lived most of my life trying to be what I thought others wanted me to be so I would be accepted. How refreshing it is to finally realize I am to keep my eyes focused on the cross and allow my Lord to shape me into what He wants me to be.
Thanks for sharing Linda!

Susan said...

Delightful post. Why in the world should we ever try to be like anyone else. God created you and me to be uniquely you and me!

Not bad, just different. There's a purpose in that. Thanks!!!