I do not I like paradoxes but I live in them all the time. The reality of contradictions, often presenting themselves as if they are allies, is one that I see every day. People, situations, and choices all fit the frame. As I listened to two in a debate, my senses slowly detected a smell emerging.
“I am fully onboard with your idea. I think we can make it work.”
“Are you sure? We are trying to build a community with collaboration, shared leadership, and common vision.”
“Yes, I know. It sounds exciting. I want to be part of it.”
“Are you sure? We talked about this a couple months ago. It feels like we are in the same conversation. You were committed then but nothing happened afterwards.”
“I know I did not follow through last time. I am in this time – fully committed, completely engaged. I want to make this work.”
“Are you sure? What has changed?”
“I like the idea! I want to be part of it. I believe in what we are trying to do.”
“I think I hear you but I thought I heard you last time. Do you realize that the words and tone of your voice are the same?”
“I cannot speak to that, I do not recall. What I know is now. I want what you want.”
If it was the first cycle of this conversation then I would have noted it and moved on. Given the three cycles before, the routine had become predictable. In my head it was as if a movie was stuck on replay.
As I watched the replays, I found myself listening to an old writer whisper; “You love the right and hate the wrong. And that is why God, your very own God, poured fragrant oil on your head, marking you out as king from among your dear companions.” (Psalm 45.7) There were two smells in this movie, both unable to mask the other.
A smell tells a story. The hardest one to detect is your own, especially when it is a paradox.