Ever since I first read A Wrinkle in Time when I was seven years old, that has been one of my favorite (if not my top favorite) quotes from the book. The moment of the actual quote may be brief, just like the entire climax 😜, but it's a culmination of the entire book.
"Like and equal are not the same thing at all!"
—A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
It's good to be different.
We are all equal. No one's life has more intrinsic value than another's. Everyone matters just as much as the next person, regardless of age, gender, race, religious beliefs, political views, socioeconomic status, health, class, IQ...any other label you can put on a person. Sure, I may personally care more about my sister than the random person I just passed on the street, but that doesn't mean that random person is of inherent less value than my sister. They're not. We are all equal before God.
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
But equal is not alike. Not one person on this earth is exactly the same as any other person in the past, present, and future of this world. See, on Camazotz, everyone was the same. And Meg, who hated being different, might initially find that attractive. But it's good to be different.
In this world, we look at presidents and CEOs and movie stars and think they have more value than the plumber we hired to fix the toilet. But that isn't true.
We look at foreign missionaries and think they have more value than those of us who minister to our sphere of influence at home. They don't.
We look at bestselling authors and think they have more value than that indie author we just bought a book from. They don't.
See, like and equal are not the same thing.
We might look at people we admire and want to be like them. But we shouldn't. We can admire traits in people. We can learn from who they are. But we don't need to be exactly like them, because that's not who God made us to be.
"When I grow up, I want to be just like you."
"When you grow up, you should be just like you."
—The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010)
We all have a different role to play, one that fits together with the roles of those around us.
We are all different members of the body of Christ and that's the way it's supposed to be. If our role is completely different from someone we admire, that's actually a good thing. It doesn't mean we're wrong, or that person's wrong, or that one or the other has a more important job to do. We are all equal, but we are not alike.
And that's the way it's supposed to be.
"For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it." —1 Corinthians 12:12-27