THE ODD COUPLE

15 05 2019

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What very well may be my all-time favorite television show ever was The Odd Couple starring Tony Randall as neat and finicky Felix Unger and Jack Klugman as sloppy but sweet Oscar Madison. Every episode sought to answer the question, “Can two divorced and different as night and day friends share an apartment in New York City without driving each other crazy?” And yes, while they did push each other to the limit every now and then, what we viewers learned was that together they covered many more relational bases than they ever could have done so on their own.

It got me thinking that many of us seem to only have friends that are like us in personality and interests. Yet, I would venture a guess that almost every nine out of ten marriages I officiate are between two total opposites. If we choose to spend our lives romantically with someone who is everything that we are not, why wouldn’t we also make sure that we include those who see life from another perspective within our daily view? Maybe we need a few “Odd Couple” connections of our own to broaden our approach as we tackle this journey called life.

Perfectionists can be uptight and impossible to live with and the Laid-Back crowd can drive others absolutely batty with their inability to make up their minds. “What do you want to do?” “I don’t know what do you want to do.” “It doesn’t matter to me; I’ll do whatever you want.” Conversations like that drive me up the proverbial wall and yet, my blood pressure would thank me if I could just be a little less uptight more often. Being around happy go lucky individuals does force me to slow down and be patient. It also confirms what I know deep down in my heart, and that is people should always be a priority over projects. Unfortunately, when I get on a roll in getting things done, I am a force to be reckoned with rather than a human being that should take the time to pay full attention to who God puts in my path.

The urgent often crowds out the important. Our busyness can cause us to miss what is really most important. Projects often take precedence over people. Being too busy can bully you to choose unwisely. It tends to substitute shallow frenzy for deep friendship. It promises satisfying dreams, but delivers hollow nightmares. It feeds the ego, but starves the inner man. It fills the calendar, but fractures the family. It cultivates a program, but plows under priorities. It lives under the assumption that everything has to be done perfectly.

We need to be reminded often that God uses all kinds of people. There is not one temperament or personality type that is superior to another. The Lord has gifted us differently for a reason, and we are not to despise one another or look at others with contempt, just because we have contrasting approaches to every day life. If we weigh our gifts and our instincts together, we have a tendency to cover all the bases!

Do you see what a disservice we do to a Family when we expect uniformity over unity? Once you have more than one child, get ready for variety. Rather than forcing your children into your mold, why not wait and see what God reveals in them and through them as they grow up? I hate chaos but I also learned that loving my children was more important than me expecting them to become order freaks like me, so I would shut the door of their bedrooms rather than fight over the mess. One of the trademarks of “The Odd Couple” television show was that Felix Unger was as neat as a pin and Oscar Madison’s bedroom could have been condemned as a garbage dump, yet they learned to live together under the same roof. Still there was a mutual respect for each other’s personal space. My wife and I have very distinct and definitive decorating styles. I cover every inch of wall space available with no measuring and lots of creative touches while Terri is content to not even put up a picture in some rooms. I love her with every inch of who I am, even though I disagree with her use of space. What I am trying to say is that there may be nothing odd at all when different people come together and commit themselves to the good of the team rather than fighting for one’s own way or the highway.

When it comes to being a Church Family, I believe the only non-negotiable is agreeing about Jesus being who He says He is. I welcome diversity in the shapes, sizes and make-up of the Congregation. How boring life would be if we were all clones of one another. Check out Jesus’ Apostles. The Lord picked people and not a prototype. When you look at the extremes of Mary and Martha or Peter and John, you must conclude that God is the author of “Odd Couples!” I want to be more like Jesus in the days to come as I continue to develop deep friendships and real relationships.

One more actual piece of trivia about TV’s Odd Couple. Tony Randall and Jack Klugman were real friends. They grew to play off one another the rest of their lives. While they are nothing alike, they do like one another and I wish there would be more of that in our Churches today. And they will know we are Christians not by our conformity but by our love for one another. Can all these imperfect people share a space without driving each other crazy? They can if they care like Jesus!


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