Complement and Compliment
Tuesday morning, 10 a.m. I sip my weekly cup of coffee. Mmm. Delicious. Outside, nature sings its sweet springtime songs, praising her Creator, as dappled sunlight reveals vibrant life in my backyard. My body is tired, but my spirit rises on wings of an eagle. The music of the season heralds joy. Hope. Promise. Yes, the promise of good things to come.
Far ahead, little bursts of yellow blooms smile bright on an olive background. Purple and white flowers wave madly in the breeze. Pink geraniums decorate my world, blushing pretty and rosy the by steps that lead to our back lawn. Deep red bottlebrushes smirk, vivid against their emerald foliage. As I soak in all that beauty out there, I wonder idly… ‘Are there any green coloured flowers?” A few clicks on Google, prove to me that yes ‘tis true; there is an abundance of green blooms in the world. Did you know that?
I discovered that not only are there green flowers but that most of them are exquisite. There are green roses, carnations, chrysanthemums, hellebores, green daylilies, zinnias, and gladiolus. And more. Interesting though that most blooms we behold aren’t green; instead they are set in colours which contrast to their green leaves. Science will explain those colours simply. That bright hues are needed to attract bees and to make pollination occur. Ah! But we know better don’t we? That colour is more than a scientific fact. It’s also an enchanting facet of the beauty and abundance of a God-breathed world.
As I mused on the way the reds, oranges, yellows, purples and pinks were exceptionally striking against their green background, I was reminded how we human beings too often stand in contrast to one another. It is true that we often gravitate to like minded people. Those of the same age. Or persons with similar interests. It seems easier to get along with them. But think how much we’d miss if we only moved with those who are carbon copies of ourselves. I do benefit significantly by spending time with those different to me.
I find new ways to perceive and understand our captivating world.
I am able to see through another’s eyes and discover new truths about life.
My soul matures when challenged by people who are dissimilar to me.
My weaknesses are complemented by their strengths.
I am in turn able to offer my own strengths to complement their lack.
My husband and I are different to the stereotype woman who multi tasks brilliantly and the man who fails miserably at it. The truth is that I can only concentrate wholly on one thing at a time. My husband on the other hand, is the king of multi tasking. How glad I am that I’m married to him. We complement each other through our strengths and weaknesses. As of course many married couples do. And we need each other.
It’s tempting to insist that the people around me should be exactly like myself. But isn’t that dangerous? If my husband was like me – many things in my household wouldn’t get done. I don’t know how to fix a tap for a start. Or how to change the oil in my car. His strengths compensate for my weaknesses and vice versa. His giftings and mine blend beautifully together to create a happy home.
Is your co-worker annoyingly different to you? Do you find yourself balking at the way she acts? Does your spouse irritate you by his weaknesses? Perhaps it’s a good thing he possesses a few – after all, it frees you then, to confess to a few flaws in yourself. It might be energising to meet like minded people. But it’s enlightening to have one’s mind opened by someone who’s very different to you. Life is much richer for it and there’s always much to learn from those whose dance steps are different to one’s own.
So perhaps it’s time we learnt to learn from each other, to compromise and to open our hearts to the variety of people in our lives. Aren’t you glad there is more than one kind of tree, flower, animal, fish and bird? Aren’t you pleased that in ministry, friendship, marriage and working life – we can build on each others strengths? So let me open my eyes today. Let me look at my colleague, co-worker, spouse and friend. If they have complemented me in life, let me tell them so. With appreciation. And thanksgiving.
And don’t forget… let the compliments begin.
“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. Above all, love each other deeply.”
1 Peter 4:10, 8