As the evening sun began to dip away, I found myself in a conversation exploring yesterdays. It was an interesting one because I wondered if my conversation partner was willing to see what I saw. I knew cynicism was close by. We had been through a variation of this conversation more than once over the past ten years. While there was additional light in each conversation, I was not optimistic that this evening would be materially different.
Even as I recognized my bias, I could see my reflection. Was I any different? Were there secret longings within me that were playing themselves? Was I merely an echo of an long past governor who, in the middle of a healthy conversation “was secretly hoping that Paul would offer him a substantial bribe. These conversations were repeated frequently.” (Acts 24.26) As critical as I was, could I see the real me within?
My history suggests that this is a difficult process. Yes, I can write about it with ease. Yes, I am willing to discuss another’s challenges, open pushing them towards more. Yet, when it comes to being open myself the challenge begins. The reminders that I find helpful include the following.
Life does not come with a specific path we must follow. We hold freedom within. We get to choose.
Being human means that we have weaknesses and flaws. Denying that they exist does not change reality. If we want to improve, recognition is a first step.
We live in a community. There is more than one. I have meaning in the context of we.
When I pull all three reminders together, I find myself seeing a fresh revelation.
“I” do not have the answers in advance. They come through the process of living.
“I” hold the opportunity to work with others with my strengths and weaknesses. By being open to both, a bridge begins.
On this evening, we found a shared perspective. I walked away richer for the experience. Hope takes us to places beyond our imagination. It is a gateway available to anyone at anytime.