Monday, February 20, 2012

A postcard from the Island of Misfit Toys

One of the blogs I read has the following as its tagline: figuring out whether the problem lies with the square peg or the round hole.

That line resonates with me. For so many years, I have felt like that square peg.

I am analytical, educated, and independent; I'm good at math and technology; I'd much rather speak directly than indirectly. And I live in a culture which highly values those characteristics, when the person bearing them possesses a Y chromosome. (Which I do not.)

But it's not just my personality-and-gender combination that makes me feel like a misfit. Politically, I am more liberal than many of my friends, and more conservative than most of my family members. Theologically, I often find myself identifying most with a camp currently called "progressive." (Some pronounce this word so that it rhymes with scare a tick.)

So in certain churches, I find myself squirming in discomfort as I try to figure out the interaction of square peg and round hole: do I knock corners off myself and attempt to squeeze into a mold created and defined by that group?

I've tried that. It doesn't work.

And attempting to redefine the shape of the group in hope of making it fit me proves to be an exercise in futility. A group that insists that all pegs must be round is not likely to change that view for one square peg... or even for ten.

But I don't find that same square peg/round hole discomfort at other churches, nor in my cohort at school. In those groups, I find acceptance of one another, with all of our differences in personality and diversity of belief. With, not despite.

It's incredibly freeing to live among those who do not insist on conformity... to fit in among the other misfits.

I like living on the Island of Misfit Toys. Why would anyone ever leave?