The funny thing about people is that most don’t say what they really want; what is really on their minds. Especially if it is about themselves. There do exist those few rare souls who bare all and would tell you any detail about their life without so much as a hint of a questioning glint in your eye. However, the majority of people will not share details of their life – unless you ask them directly.
The thing is, despite this seemingly closed-book façade, most people are desperate to be known by others – to connect on a deeper level. Just as books exist solely to be opened and read, people exist to be searched out and be truly known by others. Community is the way people were originally created to live. That is just the way humans are. Within relationships, people desire, to borrow the phraseology from Moulin Rouge, to know and be known intimately. Each person is merely waiting for someone interested and bold enough to come along and ask the right questions to open the book.
It is not so much that every person you meet is NOT an open book, but that books do not open themselves and read their own contents to you; they require someone curious enough to open them up and read them in order to discover the vast contents within. Every book is a mystery when viewed only by its cover. But within each is a unique world which exists entirely separate and distinct from that of any other. Some books sit on a shelf all their lives waiting patiently for someone to stop and notice it’s significance, brush off the dust from years of neglect and unlock the hidden stories, mysteries, adventures that have been sealed inside.
Is there someone you know who you’ve only known by their cover or are you in need of some dusting off yourself?
The cover you need to crack may even be your own.
Take the leap and open a book today; really get to know the contents rather than just the exterior.
It is interesting how as college students, and even graduate students, we characterize each other by our majors. I think we put each other and ourselves into the box of our major; we major restrict ourselves, in a sense. I do it constantly; it’s sort of the culture of our time, I suppose. We see an English major and decide that all she is is brainy and nothing more; a math major is constantly referred to whenever mathematical issues come up, even if it’s something simply like dividing the bill between a few people; and a person with a science major must be Asian because only Asians are smart enough, right? I think this stereotypical thinking limits us in how we see others’ potential, and inhibits our perspective of our own abilities. I am not just a literary scholar; I love music and singing, art and accents, world travel and camping in my backyard, the physiology of sight, etc, etc. I could go on forever about my interests, because they are wide and numerous. But for some reason, the college generation today boxes themselves in by talking about and thinking of people as only one thing. We let our major give us our identity, rather than allowing our major to contribute to our already full and diverse identities. Everyone has many interests, but unfortunately for us, the college culture trains us to see only one: whatever we majored in. I’m sure these constraints fade as time goes on, perhaps you get a job in a completely different field than what your degree is in, or you begin a family and become even more distanced from studies that were relevant to you in college, or maybe you just cultivate a full life as an adult that is filled with many hobbies and interests, rather than being tied to one thing in general, as college students typically are. Nevertheless, this constrictive thinking exists in our culture, and I think it’s hindering our ability to branch out and try new things!
If the culture and my friends say that since I’m an English major, I should do something concerning writing, that’s all well and good. However, nowadays, the message we receive is not “you majored in English so you’re equipped for a job in the English field” but rather “you majored in English so that’s all you are good at and if you try to do something different or anything else besides that, you will fail, because you’re an English major.” This message is crazy in light of the fact that every year people graduate from college and get a job that has nothing to do with their major because the economy sucks and they can’t get any other job or because they’re interested in that thing in addition to what they majored in. The point is that we should not limit ourselves, and thus set ourselves up for failure before we have even begun, by thinking that our majors and college degrees define us. No, they shape us, teach us, grow us, and certainly open our eyes to new things which interest us (hopefully), but our major is not all that we are! Especially since we as Christians have Jesus, we need to find our identity in Him over anything else, and then out of that core identity, we have interests and desires which flow into our personality and shape/hone who we are over the course of our lives. Your identity is not all about your major, and we shouldn’t make it so. Our culture needs to break the bonds of this closed-minded type thinking to allow for growth and change in the individual members and the society as a whole.