Some evenings after the kids are in bed my husband likes to turn on WWE while I’m in another room and then wait –with a slight smirk on his face, I would imagine. If I’m not far away I can recognize the sounds immediately. “NOOOOOOOPE!!” I yell through the wall. Forget the sleeping children, this man needs to HEAR me. “Come on! But it’s so entertaining!” he’ll say, which then sets me off on a long tirade about how fake and terrible the acting is, that there’s absolutely nothing real about it, and why would ANYONE actually choose to watch it, much less take it seriously. GIVE ME THE OCTAGON, OLD MAN! I’m convinced he does it on purpose, though, just to watch me dance through crazy town. I am the main event, if I had to guess.
But that’s my obsession, my thing in life- siphoning the truth out of every situation. I need to know what’s real, what’s right, the black and white answer that makes every other option wrong. If I know something is not real it usually feels like a waste of time. Don’t give me a fiction book. I will not read it. I want all the memoirs and biographies. Tell me how real people lived! That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with fiction books, it’s simply the way my brain and heart have become wired over the course of my life based on personal experiences. I have an insatiable desire to recognize and know truth.
If I can’t identify the absolute truth about a situation or issue, I will refuse to discuss it. I have to know that I know that I know before I am willing to set myself up for a debate because, well… I mostly hate confrontation. Hot topic debates, especially, make me feel uncomfortable and fragile, even if I’m just watching them on television. I would rather hide in a dark closet with a large package of mini chocolate chips and eat them one by one until the problem magically dissolves itself- or at least finds someone else to contend with. And y’all… I can make a package last.
Over the past couple of years, though, I have come to realize that I need to stop side-stepping issues that make me feel uneasy or tense. I have recognized that in order to find truth, sometimes I must wrestle with the grey areas. And that can get messy. Because when you start to wrestle with the unknown, you can’t predict the outcome. Maybe at first the answer seems obvious, but when you choose to dive into the perspectives and stories of others you come to understand that the canvas isn’t all one color, or even two- it’s covered in a million different vibrant shades. And the answer that once seemed so clear before is now not so clear because you’ve stepped outside of your own personal think bubble and allowed yourself to encounter others in a sincere and genuine way.
We tend to view life through the colored lenses of our own experiences, but can easily forget that everyone around us has their own unique set of experiences that has shaped them as well. It is impossible for us to see everything the same. A very tall man might look at an average size man and call him short. A very short man might look at that same average size man and call him tall. Does that mean one man’s perspective is more right than the other? No. Both are right. They are just different ways of looking at the same thing.
I am learning that sometimes there isn’t a black or white answer. Sometimes it’s just a difference in perspective. And even though I may not agree with someone on a particular point, that doesn’t mean I can’t come to understand why they believe what they believe. Because that place of understanding is the key to developing respect and finding common ground, and the point at which you are able to accept and love another fully despite the differences. That’s the way to develop a thriving, diverse community. And that act of fully loving someone, various view points and all, is- I believe- what God has intended for us all along.
One thing I do know with absolute certainty, though, is that there’s a lot of religious noise out there- man-made traditions, lists of do’s and don’ts- lots of things that bury the real truth of God’s love and cause people to run away as fast as they can. It’s not hard to understand why people run. But here IS what’s real and true apart from all of that swirling dust: God made you. He loves you- ALL of you. He sent His only Son, Jesus, to bear the weight of humanity’s darkness, and in turn brought us the free gift of life through His resurrection. And He is desperate to have a relationship with you.
That is a truth I know for sure. A truth I will never shy away from. A truth that calls us to love others as He loves us, which is unconditionally. It’s the compassion and love of God that allows us to know hearts instead of argue points; that allows me to wrestle for truth in the grey areas- maybe never finding an absolute, but learning to process things in a new way- a way that develops understanding, compassion, and kindness for others, which in turn shines the light of Jesus’ love in very practical ways so that others may see it and come to know and accept His absolute truth of everlasting life.
And that right there is the point.
Peace & Love, Amy