INFJ all day! (If you’re not sure why I’m using seemingly random letters and/or are curious about your own personality type, learn more about Myers-Briggs Typology here). I had to smile when 3M, someone with whom I share a lot, sent the above sentiment to me. I tell people often that one of the reasons I work in elementary education is because I am a lot more patient with the foolishness of children than that of people I believe should know better. I spend 10-12 hours a day giving of myself emotionally, spiritually, physically, mentally, pedagogically – you name it, I’m giving it. It’s hard for me to picture myself in a situation that would make me happier than this but dammit it is tiring. My time away from work is limited, so why would I choose to spend time with people who can’t act?
But they’re everywhere.
On the road. In meetings. At the supermarket. In church. I can’t escape the people. I understand perfectly well that when someone is acting out it usually has nothing to do with me. In fact, when I was in school learning about the fascinating machinations and tendencies of students, one of the topics most discussed was redirection of behavior. If a kid is not doing what s(he) is supposed to, it’s your job to figure out what it is s(he) needs to focus. As a teacher, I delight in helping students get the knowledge they need. But a whole lot of these jokers want me to work off the clock.
Quite frankly, I like to minimize the amount of people with whom I must deal. Whenever I receive a friend request on Facebook, my first thought is – who the hell is this and what does s(he) want from me? I tend to take a guilty until proven innocent approach with people. I’d rather risk missing out on someone amazing, as I figure I have plenty of wonderful people in my life. I’m good, thanks.
But THIS. The preface to the parable of the Good Samaritan:
25 An expert in the Law of Moses stood up and asked Jesus a question to see what he would say. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to have eternal life?”26 Jesus answered, “What is written in the Scriptures? How do you understand them?”27 The man replied, “The Scriptures say, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind.’ They also say, ‘Love your neighbors as much as you love yourself.’”28 Jesus said, “You have given the right answer. If you do this, you will have eternal life.”29 But the man wanted to show that he knew what he was talking about. So he asked Jesus, “Who are my neighbors?” (Luke 10:25-20 CEV)
Clearly, I’m an expert in the Law of Moses, ’cause that’s my feeling, y’all. Who are my neighbors.
Dear Lord, seriously. I am not sure what is worse – knowing that these neighbors need help or that they could help me. We’re so bloody relational and interdependent and I’m not gonna lie, it tires me out. I guess what I’m saying is that as much as the initial sentiment appeals to me, I can’t choose my neighbors. I don’t think I have to purposely be close to people who are trying to bring me down, but maybe I should be more open to the fact that loving my neighbor is the best way for me to grow.
Dammit. I mean, Amen.