In between the sounds of the birds chirping and ducks quacking, I've been hearing some hammering today. I just looked out the window and saw that a house nearby is being prepped for re-siding.
We see a good many renovations like this in the spring, as the homes in this neighborhood are 45 years old. So lots of people are sprucing up.
I've noticed that as the siding changes, so does the color. No surprise there. It's an opportunity to change the whole look of your house. (If we ever had this house re-sided, I'd want a different color too!) What is surprising is that everyone is choosing beige for their siding.
OK, some of it is taupe. Some is almond. Some is toast. It's still beige, folks....
I like a little color with my houses, thank you. Ours is faded yellow (so it's almost beige) and believe me, if I had the reason and the money to re-side this place, beige is not what I would choose. There's just so MUCH of it around here. We're not in one of those Restrictive-Living Communities that tell you what you can plant in your flower bed and what color your curtains can be. In this neighborhood you could have purple siding if you want.
But nobody wants to.
Everybody wants beige. Everybody wants their house to look just like everybody else's house. Everybody wants to blend in. We think we get past that when we get out of high school, but I don't think we do.
Are we Catholics called to blend in? Certainly Francis of Assisi didn't worry about blending in. He was not out to please his wealthy father or the rich neighbors. There was no "keeping up with the Joneses" for him--he gave it all away, even when it wasn't necessarily his to give! When I think of that quote "in the world but not of the world" (John 17: 14-15) I don't think about blending in. Shouldn't our faith lead us to stand out a little bit from the crowd?
It's OK not to be like, look like, act like everyone else. We try to teach this to our children, but do we miss this lesson ourselves? We should not be afraid to stand out because of our beliefs. We're very fortunate here. We are free to believe as we wish to, without putting our lives and our families in danger because of our faith. Yet sometimes we keep it hidden away, because it might make us stick out a little.
And who knows--we might attract others through our example. Maybe they'll want to blend in with us!