Saturday afternoon in downtown Ballard and I'm browsing through a community rummage sale. I head straight to the books. If a love for used books could be passed on to children genetically, I swear I'd have that gene. I find two books that catch my interest, and then, I see a third. I hesitate, pick it up, flip through it's dog-earred pages.
Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. It's one of those books I've referenced in conversations before but hadn't ever read myself. The analogy is clear enough, so I figured I knew enough of the book's contents to get me off the hook. Probably thought it'd be boring, redundant, cliche. I purchase the book and sit around that evening at home reading, fixated on its pages.
I mean, it's so simple. Then again, if it really is that simple, why are there so many books out there addressing relationships between men and women.
Perhaps due in part to the different planets language used in this book, I'm walking around today looking at men with a kind of cocked head fascination. A sort of awe and, well, respect. They are different. Speak a different language, have some different needs and have some of our shared needs met in different ways. They think different, reason different, process different, listen different, learn different, communicate different, interact with friends different, express and receive love different. This all sounds very silly. I imagine I'm reading a children's picture book about boys and girls. "Sally is different than Simon. Let me show you the ways..." I don't know, but something lit up today in my brain. Of course I've always known we're different. I guess I never felt the wonder of it.
I never felt the deep gratitude that men are from a different planet - and that's good.
Most of us, women and men, try to make each other in our image. Maybe us women are more guilty of that than men. We get so frustrated and hurt when men are not more like our girl friends, not more like us. We forget. I forget. They aren't supposed to be. And this is good. We have volumes to learn from each other, if we're open, if we're willing, if we're curious.
If you're thinking I'm taking a real long time to get to the profound insight today, I'm sorry to disappoint you. I don't have one. I'm just basking in this long overdue "a-ha" moment, the gratitude for the differences that can make men so wonderfully necessary and refreshing, as challenging as these differences can be. It's painful, really, to realize how often I have misunderstood them. It's exciting to realize I can learn to appreciate them more deeply now. Starting with the one closest in my life.