Tuesday, April 20, 2010
"I find myself in a world where everybody has his compartment, puts you in yours, shuts the door and departs."
~Flannery O' Connor
I'm always surprised when people I know begin to describe my husband to me: "He's such a hippie." "He's so conservative." "So clever!" "Oh, he's just a laborer." Each time, it reminds me how very comfortable we all are with compartmentalizing the people around us, and how limiting those compartments are. When folks meet him at Liturgy, they often assume that he is an extreme traditionalists, because we attend the Old Latin Mass instead of the Novus Ordo. But when they discover that we chose not to support Wal-mart, and other companies that fail to respect the dignity of the person there is confusion: liberals do that, but liberals don't go to Latin Mass.
Compatmentalizing people causes problems. Sometimes when people discover that my husband and I are not what they thought, they distance themselves. They realize that we don't fit in the compartments they've made for us, because we're people who strive to live in imitation of Christ, not in imitation of the common image of "American Catholic," and then the walls come up. In can be frustrating and it can be isolating at times, but it's something that everyone must do at times if they are ever to be truly themselves. Nobody can fit and grow and thrive when they are have been put in a compartment and the door has been shut.
Begining to understand the attitude behind this compartmentalizing has helped me to recognize when I do the same thing to other people. Without intending to, I make assumptions without allowing myself to know the true person. Part of truly living, though is realizing and actively correcting this habit, which I'm only able to do when I allow myself to see people as they are and as they strive to be.
Blessings and joy to all.