On being different and not fitting in

I find that there are lots of hard things about being ill. But the one that creeps in and gets me just when I think I’m doing ok is the ‘being different’ one. 
In churches there are groups and boxes. You can fit into the children box, or the youth box, or the married box, or the single box, or the mummy box, or the blokes who go to the men’s breakfast box, or the women that work box. But where’s the box for me? Sure, in one way I fit into the married box but in that box there are the young married with careers, then the married with children, then the older marrieds. All the sub-boxes. And I feel left out. Where is the box for people who aren’t like other people?

The little voice in my head is good at showing me my differences. 
You don’t have a career.
You don’t have children.
You don’t have the things normal people have.
You don’t fit in.
You don’t belong here.

But that’s where the little voice in my head is so wrong. The church is for people like me. It’s for people who don’t fit the mould. It’s for people who feel as if there’s no box for them. The church is one big box labelled ‘People Who Don’t Fit.’ And Jesus is right there, the most Doesn’t Fitter of all.

Show me a normal person and I’ll show you someone with problems, someone who isn’t like anyone else, someone who at some point has been left out. I’ll show you someone who Jesus made a box for. 
Being different is hard, there’s no getting around it. But once you realise that we’re all different, once you realise that Jesus is different, it’s not so hard after all.

Servant leadership – a real life example

We talk and hear about servant leadership a great deal. I was listening to a sermon about it only the other Sunday.
I’ve been in hospital for the last two weeks and, when I’m there and I can, I go to St Paul’s, the Holy Trinity Brompton plant at Onslow Square. I very much enjoy it there especially because they have great music. But I digress. On that Sunday I took Esther along and we heard this sermon on servant leadership. We got back to the hospital and didn’t talk about it much more. Halfway through the afternoon we heard a knock on my door and a small old lady came in. She introduced herself as Margaret, one of the members of the hospital chaplaincy team. I wasn’t meant to go out of my room unless I was going outside the hospital building so wasn’t able to make it to the hospital service and so Margaret gave me a prayer card and assured me that they would pray for me at the service. She then left and Esther remarked on what a sweet lovely person she was. I asked Esther if she knew who that was and Esther replied that she didn’t. I told her that that sweet lovely old lady was in fact Professor Margaret Hodson, lead Cystic Fibrosis Professor in the UK and that she volunteered for the hospital chaplaincy service on Sundays.
Servant leadership indeed.