As recent news stories remind us, the first part of the story is rarely the end of the story. Wars, legal prosecutions, and political accusations look one way on Monday and another by Friday. Regardless of the timing, it is hard to know when a story is complete. What seems black and white is often confusing shades of grey. What seems blatantly clear to one group of individuals is anything but to another. The challenge is one of knowing the balance. When does one have it or is there a question still on the table? When is the story still missing a few pieces?
I do not have the full answer but I know the first half of the story sets up the second. It is important to know when something is missing. It is also critical to hear the beginning, even if it is to tell you what the second half will not have.
As an example, knowing what love and compassion are is very important. As a starting point, it is helpful to also know what it is not! Life reminds me that we can learn from what has gone before us. We may not know what love is from our fathers, yet their words can help us recognize imposters. Bluntly put, “love doesn’t strut, doesn’t have a swelled head, doesn’t force itself on others, isn’t always ‘me first,’ doesn’t fly off the handle, doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, doesn’t revel when others grovel.” (1 Corinthians 13.6)
Some suggest that love comes in many shapes and sizes. I agree. I also think that love does not take on the negative.
The question for me as today unfolds is what I will do with my freedom. It will be important to avoid the negative. I will also need to reach for the positive. Until I grasp both, the story will remain incomplete. This is not a problem that can be solved with words. It is an opportunity where my response will tell others the story of how I answer the question.