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Category: Worthy of Respect

Signatures and Fingerprints

January 27, 2022

Signatures and fingerprints are unique. It’s hard to wrap your brain around it, but it’s true. We have seen bad guys in the movies take pains to NOT leave their fingerprints at the scene of a crime, and other criminals have tried with varying degrees of success to imitate the signature of an unsuspecting victim.

This month’s tenet teaches that WE are likewise each unique. The resources on our website include a favorite quote by modern dancer and choreographer Martha Graham that describes not only our singular identity, but the effect it has on the world: There is vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it.

Since there is only one of us in all time, we each have a signature and fingerprints that deserve to be recognized, valued, and respected. Think about your friends, family, and acquaintances. Each of them surely has something that defines them such as a signature voice, or signature laugh, or signature swagger. And we should rejoice in their absolute irreplaceability.

Sadly, the world in which we live seems to encourage disparaging and marginalizing others who present opinions, appearances, challenges, or belief systems that don’t line up with our own. I loved a post on social media that described how Pooh and Piglet took a much different approach to Eeyore’s signature tendency to be depressed and gloomy. When they realized they hadn’t heard from him for a few days, they paid him a visit and asked how he was doing. When he glumly described his state of being Sad, Alone, and Not Much Fun To Be Around At All as the reason he hadn’t bothered them, his friends wordlessly sat down on each side of him. When he asked what they were doing and why, Pooh explained that, as Eeyore’s friends, they were there for him no matter his difficulties. The story concludes:  The three of them sat in silence and while Pooh and Piglet said nothing at all, somehow, almost imperceptibly, Eeyore started to feel a tiny little bit better. Because Pooh and Piglet were There. No more no less. (A.A. Milne creator of Pooh, E.H. Shepard the original artist.)

Could there be a better example of valuing and respecting another’s innate worth? I am so grateful to have people in my life like Pooh and Piglet on my Eeyore days, and I hope to be like this duo when I encounter others who are in an Eeyore-like place. 

These friends shared common bonds and experiences. What about those whom we don’t connect with and who seem to stand for everything we abhor, and delight in making our lives challenging and frustrating? Lloyd Newell shared steps on respecting the worth of both our friends and frustrating fellows as we seek to build what Martin Luther King called a beloved community.   

…  recognize that we are all part of God’s family; we are sisters and brothers journeying together for a season on this beautiful planet…. True sisters and brothers set aside animosity, self-centeredness, and smallness. We enlarge our hearts and minds to the people around us, because, despite our differences, we’re family. So we rise above the bitterness and hostility, the intolerance and anger of the day, and dig down deep to find and share God’s love with our brothers and sisters across the street and around the world.

… So talk to someone who thinks or looks different from you. Be patient and openhearted to someone who otherwise frustrates you. When we treat each other like family—one by one, person by person—we begin to build a beloved community.

Now, please grab your pen and sign up to develop a signature way of respecting each person you encounter, and then leave your fingerprints of respect and compassion on others as Pooh and Piglet did for Eeyore.

Featured Image Photo by George Prentzas on Unsplash