Rosetta Stone

March 17th, 2010

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The Rosetta Stone was created in 196BC, as a document declaring tax free status for temple priests in Egypt and ordering construction.  It was discovered by the French in 1799.  So what?  The Rosetta Stone was written in the three languages- Greek, Coptic, and Egyptian Hieroglyphic.  Before its translation in 1824, with the first English translation in 1858, no one in the modern era had ever read or understood Egyptian Hieroglyphic.

It’s a fascinating history lesson, but what does it have to do with the theme of this blog?

This week, I wrote out some content for the blog of a friend.  She’s a photographer who writes under Catching Memories.  Part of the post deals with diverse spheres of relationships, and how funny it is when those worlds collide.  For most of my life, I have operated in multiple worlds- a family world, a work world, a church world, various community worlds, etc.  And that’s to say nothing of online personae.  There’s no conscious effort to keep these worlds separate.  The people in them often just don’t have that much in common.  But each of them does see me from a different perspective.  And none of them gets the whole picture.

I think many, maybe even most people are this way.  In our busy world, it is easy to be involved in a diversity of relationships.  But how do you stay honest?  How do you keep true to your values, your convictions, yourself, when there is no one who sees you in all your various states and modes?  Oh certainly, I might say that “God sees all”, which is true, but something of a cop out.  God will not typically put a finger against your chest and say, “You are acting like a different person here” or “You’re being inconsistent there.”  So we need someone or several someones in our lives who can be the voice of reason.

Most friends- even close ones, might only span a couple of those relational worlds. They might be aware, but not a part of others.  In my life, I am blessed with a wife who can see the big picture, and who can often make sense of it.  She’s like my Rosetta Stone, translating from one world to the next.  She may not be an intimate part of all of those relational worlds, nor am I a part of all of hers’.  But she can keep score.  She can look for oddities and inconsistencies.

Your Rosetta Stone doesn’t need to be a spouse, but it should be somebody.  Somebody who you’ll let into your various worlds.  Someone who will make sense of them, and will call you when you’re not making sense among them.

For everyone else, enjoy the occasional surprises, as you learn something new or unexpected about someone you thought you knew all about.  Relish those times.  Ask questions.  Learn something NEW about your oldest friends.

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