Contradictions and bridges

All I have is questions.

This morning, as I prayed through the Examen, I got stuck on what seemed to be my own contradictions. I am too anxious at times, which feels like a lack of trust in God. But isn’t God the only one who knows the whole truth and is completely worthy of trust?

I feel compelled to proclaim my view of the world, the country, politics, the Church, and racism, but should I stir the pot when so many of my friends and family are clearly trying to bring only bright spots and encouragement to a world of darkness and despair?

And, for Pete’s sake, what exactly IS my place in the world? How do I – and can I – fit into the bigger scheme – one that clearly doesn’t fit me very well? What good will it do to further stir the toxic pots of politics and religion anyway? There are so many voices shouting across a rickety bridge over the great divide – growing wider and deeper every day… how can my words add anything of value to the madding crowd?

And then I heard…

Nancy, you are perplexed by the issues.
Maybe you could focus on the bridge?

I’ve wasted too many tears on the mean-spirited comments and name-calling – and mostly not even directed at me. Because the truth is I fear the conflict between and among people has done and will continue to do more damage than any virus could inflict.

Although I have V*E*R*Y strong feelings about most issues currently in the headlines, my core is more affected by how we are treating each other than by how these worldly issues will be resolved. The vile words, accusations, assumptions, and simple failure – or refusal – to listen are heartbreaking.

I hope you’ll take the time to watch All That We Share, a video produced by the country of Denmark. It’s only three minutes long and will renew your faith in the oneness of people. And it will remind you, as it did me, that people are complex. Seeing people move in and out of groups, claiming the truth about themselves, self-identifying as silly as well as ashamed, loving as well as alone, tattooed, UFO sight-ers, and step-parents helps us better understand how things that appear, on the surface, to be contradictory or incompatible or impossible can indeed live in harmony.

This visual display of real people, every single one created in God’s image, provides a safe path to better understanding that there really are people who:

  • Do not support the current administration AND are pro-life “from the womb to the tomb”
  • Believe in the sanctity of marriage AND God’s love for people of every sexual orientation
  • Love the security and freedoms offered by this country AND have a heart for all – as in every single one – of those seeking refuge here. EVERY SINGLE ONE.

It isn’t difficult for me to determine my should’s and want to’s. Like everyone else, I desire a life of meaning and determination.

My goals remain the same: to engage with people with care and a measure of caution. When I do decide to join in difficult conversations, I will approach with gentleness and search for common ground. I will offer grace and patience, speak with humility, and listen with both ears. I welcome you and yours with joy to a respite from the chaos and absence of civility.

And, after today, to continue to focus on the bridge – no matter how long or rickety, it’s the only way we have to get back to each other.

So there are my goals.

My success, however, will depend almost entirely on …
How close I remain to Jesus and His contagious, endless, and reckless love for people, His children, His first loves.
How much I value the truth over popularity.
And how willing I am to listen to His voice.

My lovelies, I regularly add to my list of Questions I’ll Ask When I Get to the Information Booth in Heaven. And, yowzers, that list is getting pretty ding-dang long.

When I’m at my best, I know that those questions will be answered during this lifetime only if and when I need to know.

But the true key to my peace and survival is this: when I get to the front of the Information Booth line, I won’t really care any more.

Photo by Matthew Harris on Unsplash

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