June 29, 2009

do you collect butterflys?

I was out for my friend's birthday the other night and saw some old friends, met some new ones. I kept wanting to ask them what they did, where they worked, how they knew my friend. In a sense, I wanted to figure out who they were by what they did.

This isn't just me and by no means uncommon. It happens all the time. At YDS, you meet someone and go through all the details that supposedly define you - degree program, denomination, ordination track, where you're from, etc.

This is a culture that defines people by what they do first, and then who they are second. We put people in boxes by the hard facts and then move from there. At YDS, once we learn the various degree details about someone, we know how to interact with them. Ah, a Lutheran M.Div. A Ethics MAR. Ordination track. Non-ordination track. While these details are helpful, it's not the end-all-be-all.

It reminds me of this quote from The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry:
“Grown-ups like numbers. When you tell them about a new friend, they never ask questions about what really matters. They never ask: "What does his voice sound like?" "What games does he like best?" "Does he collect butterflies?". They ask: "How old is he?" "How many brothers does he have?" "How much does he weigh?" "How much money does his father make?" Only then do they think they know him.”
I've been feeling a bit like a ship without its bearings, wandering lost at sea, no port to aim towards. I'm guessing it comes from this period of transition and having less of these "hard" facts about myself. It's a little unnerving, but somewhat freeing at the same time. I don't think I could sustain this freewheeling for a long period of time though. Hopefully I won't have to.

3 comments:

Patti said...

Linz if nothing ever changed, there would be no butterflies.

I'm all for you collecting butterflies. In fact, I'm planning on collecting some too.

lindsay said...

are you a truck?

AD said...

Bob Dylan has an album called The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan.