You Choose

The choice, as they say, is yours.

Today is gameday in South Carolina – SC is traveling to Clemson for the biggest rivalry in these parts. Families are torn today. Friends are on opposite sides of the divide. One side will be unhappy tonight – and, I hope, they’ll be mostly wearing orange. Some folks will be mad. Some will be mouthy, whiney, offended – and that’ll be on both sides, win/lose/draw.

It happens in politics (if you’re on Facebook, you know what it was like just a few short weeks ago, and still on some walls today). It happens in Christian circles, and I’m sure in other faith communities as well. It happens at work, at home, in the midst of family members, and in juts about anything we do together.

People disagree.

I don’t like conflict. Lots of people think I do. I’m the one who asks the “devil’s advocate” queries often, asking the counter-question in order to get to something other than the status quo. But that doesn’t mean I like to be at odds with the room.

It happens, though – and sometimes it makes folks angry that I don’t stay on the dotted line very well.

Or rather, they choose to be angry. Or if not actually mad, then to still treat me and my questions/statements as a hostile, as someone coming along with heresy and blasphemy at worst, with stupidity and childishness and in need of education at best.

Different ideas, different opinions, different expectations does not an enemy make.

But I choose to be offended. I choose to be angry. I choose to let someone else hold sway over how I feel about myself, about them, about life, the universe and everything.

But you choose to be offended. You choose to be angry. You choose to let someone else hold sway over how you feel about yourself, about them, about life, the universe and everything.

Or, I choose to not.

I choose today to not be angry, to not be offended, to not give someone else the keys to my emotional state.

We get to choose. Yes, it’s harder when the folks closest to you are the ones choosing to be offended, to be mad, to label you as the opposition. But it’s still your choice. It’s still my choice.

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reading into reality

I was able to read a book this past weekend. A whole book. With pages and a binding and everything. For those of you who have been paying attention – okay, if you had been paying attention – you the reader would know that this is quite an accomplishment. Most days, I can count four or five books that I’m “reading”. It’s rare that I will finish one, and much more rare that I will read a whole book in a day. But that’s what I did Saturday.

I’ll post a more proper review and reflection on DROPS LIKE STARS by Rob Bell later. What struck me Saturday was the book’s ability to reflect and refract reality for me. It was very much an overall experience, rich and poetic and photogenic all in one large hardback package. And honestly, all of it worked together to bring me into a new space. somehow. For me, a “good book” is one that is not an escape from reality, but is a reflection of reality, a new perspective on reality, a different take on what is really real and really meaningful. The best stories, for me, are those that don’t whisk me away, but that instead encourage and enlighten the here and now. They make me think, make me feel, make me contemplate and chew on something bigger than whatever came before. That’s what this book did for me.

I’m watching The Universe on the History Channel right now. Just like a good book, good documentaries for me are those that are interesting and make me think and re-think while positing whatever facts and figures, dates and timelines. There is so much to know, so much to experience and live. Stretching mind and spirit in ways like this, beyond our own five senses, beyond our little worlds and interactions – that’s where I think we really grow and learn and live.