Why are you so difficult?
That was the question my wife Martha raised at lunch today. It was not about me, but about her. Martha is an artist, a printmaker and etcher. She has been a dedicated printmaker since the first year of our marriage. You can see a sample of her work on her website: www.marthaensignjohnson.com. Her work is not decorative pretty work. Her work pursues a theme or idea. It develops images and issues that, oftentimes, are not pleasant but make the observer work at finding out what is going on in her work.
That means that when people visit her studio, sometimes they express almost disappointment with the amount of work it takes to appreciate her art. So she thought about making a sign that explains "why she is so difficult."
I like difficult people. That is one reason I married an artist. She sees things I miss (often to my annoyance) and can create things that take my breath away. She pursues ideas relentlessly and often expresses opinions and truths bluntly. "Nice" is not part of her vocabulary, nor is "safe." But that gets her in trouble with some people who want her to act predictably.
As we talked about being difficult, I took off on my own reflective tangent. Jesus was certainly "difficult" as was John the Baptist, Paul, Jeremiah, Isaiah, David, Deborah, Sarah, Rachel, and other leading figures in the Bible. Their pursuit of God and righteousness made them difficult to be around, but necessary for life. Paul was certainly difficult as were the early church fathers like Irenaus and Polycarp. Musicians and architects, surgeons and entrepreneurs are all difficult people. Many of my best teachers must have been difficult to live with and be on committees with because they were so obsessed with their pursuits. Certainly presidents and senators have to be difficult people to get anything done.
God bless all the difficult people in pursuit of truth, beauty, justice, peace, new ideas and solutions to old problems. God bless the difficult people who are brave enough to call the mediocre....mediocre and the ugly ugly. God bless the difficult people who see potential where most of us opt for easy accommodation. God bless the difficult people who believe right words matter and flat or sharp notes should be called out and fixed. We need those difficult people! They are God's gifts to us.