It is hard to fathom, at least for me, how two people with similar conditions can be so very different. To coin a title from a Tim Weisberg album we are in many ways “twin sons of different mothers.”
Not including age (unfortunately I am the older son), we share interests such as cars and woodworking, similar levels of intelligence, senses of humor, music, recreational activities, introversion (even down to Myers-Briggs results). Heck, we even pack our excess weight in the same place. And, as mentioned in previous post, Karl and I are both bipolar.
The differences in our personalities, lives and how being bipolar plays out in our daily existence are somehow perfectly mirrored in the conditions of our garages and workshops. I am left wondering if every person’s personality could be understood and analyzed based on the condition of their garages. Forget the house, the furnishings, the kitchen and the yard! If archeologists a thousand years from now were to delicately uncover our perfectly preserved work spaces, they could peg our personalities down to a “t”.
Karl’s garage he calls his “man space” while mine I call my cave. (I would never call it a “man cave” because I’m just too sensitive to gender issues for that.) I suppose in those choices of names, you can picture the primary differences.
Karl’s space is as organized as it sounds. If there was Feng Shui for garages, Karl’s would be on the magazine cover. His garage is enviably large, housing a van, a truck, a project car (1959 Fiat 1200 special), car parts out the wazoo, tools, a paint booth, wood, lawn equipment and anything else imaginable including somewhere, I have no doubt, an old kitchen sink. All this is organized using as much vertical space as possible, with even the tools being hung on a moveable pegboard cart with a tiny footprint. If you needed something, he can tell you where it is every single time.
Contrast that with my cave. As any archeologist will tell you, you can find all manner of things in a formerly inhabited cave. Piles of animal bones, scat, tools scattered all about and even the piles of trash give explorers all the details they need. Rather than vertical use of space, I am an expert at the use of horizontal surfaces – if it is flat, or even near flat, I can find something to pile on top of it. My tools are carefully housed where last I used them – my tool box being a place-keeper and reminder that, one day, I will possibly put my tools in there. Every scrap of wood I have ever produced is somewhere on my floor or workbenches, along with every piece of paper I have ever received in the mail and every piece of sandpaper I have worn out. My “project car” is the one my wife drives daily – the one that parks outside next to mine because there is no room in the inn. If you need something out of my garage I will say, “Join the club. Come back next Tuesday.”
As you would expect, Karl’s life very much lines up with his garage and mine with mine. Karl’s ways of thinking and living are very orderly, organized and methodical. Mine are chaotic, disarranged and confused. Interestingly, when something unexpected happens to Karl, he is very adaptable and flexible. I, on the other hand, wet myself and run in circles.
These differences play out in the areas of faith as well. While I am perfectly comfortable with ambiguity and the mystery of faith, Karl needs faith to be as organized and rational as one would expect. Karl has difficulty with his belief in God and with any organized religion because, well, neither one will act like we think they should. Oddly enough Karl, who religiously attends church in the hope of finding the faith he longs for, says that Jenna and I have come the closest to being to articulate issues of faith in ways that make sense. I am not sure of that is a compliment or an indictment of the current state of the church.
The thought struck me (taken to rediculous extremes, of course) that if everyone were like me, civilization as we know would cease to exist and churches would tumble for want of some established tradition. If everyone were like Karl, civilization might grind to a halt and churches would develop absolutes that killed the mystery entirely. (I hope that’s not unkind to Karl.) What is fascinating is that our friendship is so strong, I think, precisely because we are so different in some respects. Civilization and church both profit from the inclusion of the differences – by the counter-play that prevents one extreme or the other from taking over.
If all churches and all societies allowed for the full interaction and exchange of ideas that could result from diversity, people would consider themselves sisters and brothers of the same unpredictable, unfathomable and indefatigably loving God – much like Karl and I are brothers to the core.
If this made any sense whatever, you may need to schedule an appointment with a competent therapist.