For clarity's sake, I'm not very knowledgeable about Oriental philosophies, just a smattering from college courses. I had to try spelling "yin yang" more than once to get it right. One thing I am pretty good at is making connections, chalk it up to being a teacher. So, what's up with the yin yang?
How's this for a connection: Tom prefers to unload the dishwasher, while I prefer to load. Pretty simplistic, right? But that got me to thinking (sometimes more dangerous than others). After multiple decades of marriage, there's probably lots of ways that Tom and I complement each other.
For the longest time, well maybe until last month, it made me a bit crazy that Tom talked so little. Both of my parents were talkers; I thought that's what all couples, parents did. Wrong! Thankfully, I'm learning to accept Tom's silence, which makes me appreciate his words more. In doing so, I'm also learning that our individual differences are part of what make us strong, together.
Of course, yin yang doesn't apply only to married folks. Two of my favorite teaching colleagues of all time were my complements in lesson planning, and classroom environment. I'm get those plans done weeks ahead, monitor and adjust as needed. Planning more than 3 days ahead seemed almost painful for them. I prefer my classroom welcoming, but on the Spartan side, while they saw the tops of their desks the first and last days of school, truly, that was it. What began as criticisms evolved into observations, and finally appreciation. We joked about how our styles initially seemed unintelligible to each other. They taught me to loosen up and keep the kids the main focus of my day.
I suppose, whether so noted or not, much of old and new media use yin and yang to develop their characters' traits. Just think of Fred and Barney, Butch and Sundance, Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, even my own characters of Bobby and Bonnie. Hayley Williams's said, "Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative," but I wonder if instead of getting one and focusing on the other, they might rather support each other. Do they bring out our strengths, and compensate for our weaknesses? At the very least, a yin to our yang can break us out of predictable patterns, shake things up, create conflict and interest.
As usual, my heart and mind wander to the spiritual, or scriptural. Considering the men and women of both testaments, we see many examples of yin and yang, starting with Cain and Abel. From Solomon and Absalom to Ruth and Orpah, and onto the diversity of the disciples, we catch glimpses of ourselves and intertwining, for good or bad.
Whether I call it complements or yin and yang, for me, the glory is we are each uniquely created. One of the wonders of God is that He chooses not to use a cookie cutter. The writers of Scripture provide us with many accounts of all kinds of people with all kinds of character traits, and then seem to affirm God's love and acceptance of them all. Indeed, He goes out of His way to welcome or redeem them at any cost.
My personal prayer is to eliminate judgment and insult, accept our interdependence, and accentuate, celebrate our diversity. Will you join me? Can we challenge and comfort each other in our quest? I treasure your company on the journey!
28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.