Wednesday, June 22, 2011
That I might be a platypus person - someone God made in a random mood
The platypus is a weird and unique animal. I can understand the confusion its discoverers would have had in classifying it. Is it a duck or an otter? A mammal or a reptile. Would you be more likely to find it in the water or on the land? They finally decided to call it a mammal and classify it as a monotreme. Perhaps the platypus is the animal God created in a frugal mood, when He'd finished everything else and just wanted to put something together from the parts He had left over. Maybe it is a sign of our Creator's random sense of humour, or simply a message that not everything can be easily classified.
Do you know, I've been similarly confused when I've been thinking about my own role in this world. When people have tried to pin me down and ask me what sort of person I am, I haven't been able to tell them. Emotional books, films or events which seem to draw tears from the majority may leave me dry-eyed while a simple, throw-away remark has me sobbing like a baby, embarrassing my family because they can't understand why I'm so touched. I used to think I have some characteristics of a hermit but I definitely value some sort of steady social input. I also used to think it would be nice to be an intellectual, but I'm definitely not one of those. Intellectuals frighten me a bit, yet I do like to spend a lot of time thinking and learning. Like other girls, I used to think it would be nice to be a model when I was in my teens, yet I was too short and even though I was anorexic at the time, my bones themselves were still too chunky. Recently I bought a book about discovering your chief spiritual gift from a list of seven, and I got frustrated because I couldn't fit myself comfortably into any one of them, although I could certainly place other people I know.
I always wanted to be the sort of person who fits into a niche. People who give themselves some alternative label such as 'hippy' or 'emo' have a distinct style and seem to know what shops to go to. They all look 'different' in the same way. How I would have loved a label during my life's journey, but I'm not a yuppy, hippy, yummy-mummy, eccentric or anything in between. I'm not even a 'random' (unless you could count this post as something like that).
Once I almost talked myself in to placing myself and my son, Logan, into the category of 'eccentric' because they appealed to me. My husband pointed out that we definitely aren't, because we lack many of their characteristics, including one crucial one. "Eccentrics don't care what people think of them but you and Logan definitely care what people think." So, in the end I had to call myself "weird, style-less nothing-person!" I don't seem to fit anywhere and defy definition.
So I can relate to the platypus. The introduction to the book of Ecclesiastes in my Message Bible says, "Unlike the animals, who seem quite content to be simply themselves, we humans are always looking for ways to be more than or other than what we find ourselves to be." So maybe, like the platypus, my wisest course is simply to be happy being my patchwork self, appreciating the people and things, books and activities that make me smile. I guess the most valuable and acceptable gift we can offer to God and others is to be grateful and content with the way He's made us and all the good things we find in our lives.
We might as well put a good spin on our self-descriptions too. Instead of "weird, style-less nothing person" I can be a lover of beauty, a free spirit, an appreciator of good things, a seeker of interesting things and theories. (And of course there are always the old standards such as 'homeschooling mum' and 'fiction author' and 'Aussie woman' to fall back on.)
I'm wondering whether I'm the only platypus person out there, or whether others have considered themselves "platypus people" too. Let me know if you think this describes you too. I'd be interested. Perhaps this thought is more widespread than we all realize. And let's celebrate because after all, our namesakes are considered unique and cute enough to place on a twenty-cent coin.