What’s the Difference?

When I worked as a copy editor for a large in-house agency at a corporation that will remain nameless, we had loads of scintillating conversation at our staff meetings. While your work team meeting might focus on action steps, brainstorming or implementation, ours focused on word usage: How do you decide if it’s “which” or “that”? If the CEO wants “over” to be used only when its meaning is “above your head,” does that make “more than” a superior phrase or simply a managerial quirk? And which is correct: “different from” or “different than”?

I still can’t remember the answer to that last one. If I am editing something with one of them in it, I look it up. If I am about to use it in my speaking, I either say something else entirely or say both.

So when I finally got around to reading Same Kind of Different as Me I was really confused by the addition of “different as.” But soon the book (by Ron Hall and Denver Moore, with Lynn Vincent) made me not care about the grammar. The true story centers on how Ron Hall, an international art dealer, allows his wife to convince him of their need to minister at a homeless shelter. There they meet Denver, a homeless man who is none too happy to make their acquaintance.

God had bigger plans and wove the lives of these two men together in a way they never dreamed possible. Watch the video to hear more about their unique friendship, and then consider reading the book.

Who do you perceive as different? (Notice how I avoided the whole different from/different than conundrum?) How might you approach a friendship or, at least, an understanding? One thing this book taught me is not to be so quick to see a slight.

Denver eventually tells Ron that those at the homeless shelter figured Ron and his wife were with the CIA because they were asking everyone their name and birthdate; apparently on the street, no one asks your name. The Halls could have perceived reverse prejudice in Denver’s not revealing his name; instead they simply persisted in loving. I am often so quick to judge the motives of another, when I might be totally off base. I am asking God to help me accept that there may be valid reasons for the behavior of another that I think is odd or even rude.

No matter how different you think someone is, recognize they are a person cherished by God. Reach out in love. You may just discover an amazing friendship that will carry you through the hard times.


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