January 23, 2019
No Spouse is Everything
Don’t you think it would be cruel to ask your spouse to hold down five jobs?
Let’s say your wife is a university professor, but you expect her to also serve as a detective in the police department, an investment advisor at a local bank, a case worker for child protective services, and sell new cars on the weekend.
That would be insane, right?
Or say your husband operates a Chick-Fil-A, but you expect him to also coach the high school football team, be a plumber on the weekend, serve as head librarian at the local seminary, and inspect houses during his “free time.”
Hopefully, no one would ask their spouse to hold down five jobs, but many of us ask our spouses to be five different people.
And that’s just as cruel as asking them to hold down five jobs.
Can we accept that given the human condition, no spouse is the “total package?”
Louis of Granada (a sixteenth century Dominican Friar) paints a beautiful portrait of how we must learn to honor God as creator by pointing to the variety we find in nature. God doesn’t use a cookie-cutter to shape his world. Every creature has certain weaknesses and strengths. We honor God when we learn to celebrate the beauty of one creature without asking it to have the strengths of other creatures. Those worship God the most who celebrate the frailty of a hummingbird and the bulk of a rhinoceros.
Here’s how Louis describes it:
“We find beautiful variety in the works of nature, where the Sovereign Creator wisely apportions all gifts or qualities so that the lack of one perfection is compensated by the possession of another. The peacock, which has a harsh and displeasing voice, possesses a beautiful plumage; the nightingale delights the ear, but has no charms for the eye; the horse bears us where we will and is valuable in camp and field, but is rarely used for food; the ox is useful for farm and table, but has scarcely any other qualities to recommend him; fruit trees give us food, but have little value for building; forest trees yield no fruit, but afford us the necessary material for erecting our dwellings. Thus we do not find all qualities or all perfections united in one creature, but that variety among them which constitutes the beauty of nature and binds them to one another by a mutual and necessary dependence.”
So what’s “better”—a nightingale or a peacock? There’s no objective “correct” answer to that question.