This morning for some reason I awoke with a thought about the difference between the spirit of competition and the spirit of cooperation. In our culture, we have prized competition because it builds (or so the theory goes) a strong, vibrant marketplace that ultimately benefits consumers. Our kids compete in sport and when they win--or even when they lose--we feel it's good for them. That's the way the world works, right?
But this morning I was thinking about the nature of competition and its down-side, comparison. When we compare ourselves with others, maybe we run the risk of putting more energy into the idea of separateness and making it seem more real. And maybe when we put too much focus on what we want to be one day, or worse, who--by comparing ourselves with others and coming up short--we might miss the many ways God has blessed us uniquely to love and serve others our way, creating something beautiful with our lives.
When we cooperate, we work together toward something shared. There is the feeling of traveling together, even if we tussle along the way. It's not our team against their team or our school against theirs--it's, "How can we all have a great time playing football in this program?" It is no longer the arts program competing with the science program for funding, but rather, "How can we provide the best education for our kids?" It's not even, "I do all the real work around here while he sits in his recliner and watches TV!," but "What can we do to make this relationship more alive, more fun, more fulfilling for both of us?"
Perhaps the spirit of competition turns our eyes inward, where we focus on what we need, want, desire. And maybe the spirit of cooperation helps us fix our eyes on something bigger than ourselves and our individual wants. I think cooperation is the harder of the two, because as we all know, we have to give up control and, well, cooperate with other sometimes unpredictable people--who may have different ideas than we do, about things we really care about. :)
But I think we'll get it, one day, perhaps in the not-too-distant future. They say the Kingdom of God is within us, right now. Maybe we just need to hold hands in order to find it. :)
Blessings on your day!