The What and Who of Meandering About

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Reclaiming Words - "Consistency"

Consistency

It isn't the most exciting or dramatic concept in the English language.  In fact, there are some instances when the word is used as a backhanded complement.  When a commentator says that an athlete is consistent, it can mean the individual doesn't really have any traits or qualities that stand out.  When a coworker praises someone for their consistency, it sometimes means that the best thing that can be said about them is that they show up to work every day.

In Webster's Dictionary the entry for consistency reads...
consistency noun

1 a :  archaic : condition of adhering together : firmness of material substance
3 a : agreement or harmony of parts or features to one another or a whole : correspondence; specifically : ability to be asserted together without contradiction
   b : harmony of conduct or practice with profession


I would like to go on record saying that I desire consistency, and it is something I long to emulate.

Let me be clear, I am not talking about rigidity or immutability.  Rather, I am referring to the courage to be someone whose character and manner is consistent in success and failure, with nobility and ragamuffins, under stress and at ease.

When I take time to consider the most important influences in my life, I notice that they are all people who practice consistency.  They are the ones who are a consistent presence in my life.  They are the ones who are consistent in the manner in which they live.  They are the ones who seem to be the most level-headed regardless of the situation.  They are the individuals who I can count on to be by my side through thick and thin.  They are the people who have the courage and the cache to speak the truth in love into my ear and to be heard.  As a result, they are my most trusted confidants.  I praise God for these people and their consistency.  Their impact cannot be measured or their importance overstated.

Henri Nouwen wrote in  Gracias!, "More and more, the desire grows in me simply to walk around, greet people, enter their homes, sit on their doorsteps, play ball, throw water, and be known as someone who wants to live with them. It is a privilege to have the time to practice this simple ministry of presence. Still, it is not as simple as it seems...I wonder more and more if the first thing shouldn't be to know people by name, to eat and drink with them, to listen to their stories and tell your own, and to let them know with words, handshakes, and hugs that you do not simply like them, but truly love them."

Yes, consistency is difficult because it requires discipline and a willingness to move toward and place people first.  Consistency requires that we become comfortable with who we are and who it is we are becoming.  Consistency asks us to be practitioners of the ministry of presence.

Consistency is something I desire and long to emulate.

The question is how can I better practice consistency in my own life and relationships?

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