While traveling a busy highway in middle Georgia, I pass by a fruit stand when I go home to visit my daddy and family.
This particular one sells peaches. At least I think so. The sign literally read, “Peches.” I assume during the fall the merchants sell “bold p-nuts.”
I found a picture of this peach stand on Reddit, along with the caption, “This pech sure is good. But it tastes like it is missing something.”
There is nothing like a spelling error, grammatical mistake or a speech blunder to make one feel a bit smug and superior.
Whenever I pass that peach stand, I cannot help but think, “Just how dumb are they?”
Reflecting a bit more on this beloved “Pech Stand,” I realized this is not fair for at least two reasons.
First, the misspelling could be intentional. A passer-by looks twice and just might wheel in to buy a bushel of “peches.” Ah, the beauty of marketing!
Second, what if it is a genuine mistake? I make plenty of them.
However, the real story behind this “misspelling” was more illuminating. I received a needed dose of humility when it was pointed out to me that “Peches” was the family name and not a misspelling of peaches.
I have never thought of myself as superior to others, but, if I am being completely honest, I generally assume that I am politically smarter than people who disagree with me, theologically more astute than people who openly share their doubts and aesthetically more sensitive than the fellow blankly staring at the screen of a phone.
Sounds like I do have a superiority complex.
What is it within us that has us hungry for power and dominance, even if we never explicitly act on it? There is the gnawing need to be right, the aggressive drive to be first and the lurking fear that stands in the way of admitting mistakes.
Our hungers, fears, mistakes and failures are part of the human condition. It is who we are, and some of us have road signs pointing it out.
We are human beings, joining with all creation reflecting back God’s holy image. All we have to do is to be.
We are also human doings. What we do, matters. Our actions, our behavior, our ethics and our values matter.
And we are human becomings. We have not arrived at the fullness of who we are but are on a wondrous journey called life. As we be, and as we do, so we are becoming.
I’ve spent the better part of my life trying to communicate and defend what I am. I am discovering, however, that it is more important to know who I am.
The “what” question can easily be answered politically, socially, economically, intellectually and so on. The “who” question, however, is a much deeper, probing question that I will spend the rest of my life answering.
I just hope I get the spelling right.
Greg DeLoach is Interim Dean at McAfee School of Theology of Mercer University and Director of Development at McAfee School of Theology and College of Professional Advancement.