Today I’m honored to have my writing friend Gail Pallotta join us for “What I’ve Learned Lately.” Gail and I met at an American Christian Writers conference in Atlanta several years ago, then pitched a devotional book project together at the Florida Christian Writers Conference (no takers … oh well). She visits my local writers group when she can so it’s always good to see each other and catch up on writing things.
A little more about Gail: Love Turns the Tide is Gail’s first romance, but she’s been writing for as long as she can remember. Her first story appeared in a grammar school newspaper. Much later, she worked as an editor and copywriter. After she married she helped her husband with his business, but continued to write. Between the feature stories she wrote at work and the freelance pieces she placed, she published several hundred articles. After some of them were selected for anthologies and two ended up in museums, friends and family nudged her to “do more.” Then she undertook a lifelong dream and wrote a novel. In 2004, the year she published her first book, Now Is the Time, the American Christian Writers Association named her a regional writer of the year. This past November an excerpt from Love Turns the Tide won the Clash of the Titles Challenge in the best nature / weather scene category.
No Two Leaves Alike
I’ve learned that children love macaroni and cheese. Little boys play with worms and bugs. Little girls dance in tutus. Teenagers like to stay out all night. Men want to watch sports on television. Women prefer movies or soap operas.
Even if I don’t sew, I have fun with friends who do because we both like to cook, have lunch or shop. What’s hard is learning that we’re different. With all the things we share, each of us is as different as the leaves on the trees. Some leaves have bug bites on one side. Others have middle veins running off center. Some are broken, cracked or discolored. While one leaf looks perfectly shaped almost as though an accomplished artist drew it, another appears lopsided as though something thwarted its growth. But at a distance the leaves just look like leaves.
Knowing someone from afar, I assume that person’s just like me. Oh, I don’t expect him or her to resemble me. I expect him or her to act like me, to have my values, my beliefs and my sensitivities. Sometimes after being around a person for years, that individual does something that shocks or upsets me. So many times I’ve thought, How could he or she do that? I wouldn’t do or say that to him or her. Or I’ve asked myself, How can he or she not understand what I’m saying? At the time perhaps my feelings are hurt, or I wonder why this person isn’t as excited about something as I am.
The simple truth is that person isn’t me. We may be friends or even relatives and have a lot in common, but we’re different. From a very young age life shows each of us different experiences, hurts, and joys. I’ve learned it’s best to accept others as they are rather than harbor hurt feelings or worse, get angry or resentful. I have to allow each person to be who he or she is, and love him or her. That’s what God tells us to do. I imagine from where He’s sitting He wants to see us in harmony like the leaves hanging on the trees.
In Matthew 22: 37-39, Jesus says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Thanks, Gail, for joining us. I find myself in the same trap many days – I assume that someone is like me just because we grew up together or see each other through things with our kids. Not always the case, though, is it? But then, how dull things would be if we were all alike and how interesting it can be to find those little differences that make us, “us.”
Read more about Gail on her Web site at http://www.gailpallotta.com and visit her blog at http://www.gailpallotta.blogspot.com Gail’s romance, Love Turns the Tide, is available from www.awe-struck.net. Just click on the inspirational category.