“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn” –Romans 12:15 (NIV). “Notice [people’s] moods and adapt yourself to each, genial or serious as the case may be” –Balthasar Gracian.
The light adaptable spirit is able to blend into his or her environment such that hardly anyone notices, but they at the same time are a balm to wounds, ever ready to apply the right response to the given situation at hand.
Being adaptable obviously requires an abundance of humility--the ability to be other-centred, but not to the loss of self. It’s a balance of both in such a way that the self is more than willing and able to serve. It sees a need to serve, and responds, out of intrinsic love.
This is no short order, for the pinnacle of this field in human terms is probably a Mother Teresa. To throw ourselves into the worst of it, and then adapt cheerfully, for the rest of our lives is one way to imagine Teresa’s life more personally. And her legacy lives on.
For us, however, in the ordinary rub of life, there is the issue of perception and awareness. We have to at least be keenly aware of others’ needs if we are to reach out likewise and in kind.
Then there’s knowing implicitly what to do. Again, this is how we would define humility. Humility looks good when it’s seen, yet, like love, it’s harder to adequately and accurately define or describe. We just know it when we see it and perhaps it’s easier to illustrate via example than to describe it in words.
Being all things to all people at all times is a tall order, but a principle rooted in deep Scripture; one most holy. Our best model of course is the living Lord Jesus, as he lives throughout the gospels.
If we read, pray, investigate and, like a garment, ‘put on’ the living Lord Jesus, we will be much closer to this reality as his light shines from deep within us out to a world who desperately needs to see him.
Adapt in love.
Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.