A lot of people wonder what other people stand for. Walking the streets of a big town like New York or a small town like Redlands California, and the same question comes to mind. Who and what does she (or he), pick one in the crowd, stand for? One knows that externals do not tell the story, they rarely do. Yet the answers are both illusive and potentially quite confusing. Should one predict the answers by how they drive? How about their way of interacting with others in their path? Perhaps it is a combination of everything one observes.
Occasionally I find myself analyzing the situation, looking and guessing, before I realize that I have met the individual in another setting. From that setting, be it socially, at church, or at work, I know what they say they believe in. Rarely is there a connection between my analysis and the stated beliefs. Initially I thought my analysis was flawed. Yet with time I doubt that is completely the case. There is often a gap between our aspirations and our steps. The real question is how big, how relevant, and how obvious. Our story is often disjointed. Knowing, correcting, and remaining intentional about our future is the key to the puzzle.
Most people forget the plot of their lives. When Pilate brought Jesus out to the crowd the reactions of the high priests and police was immediate, “they shouted in a frenzy, ‘Crucify! Crucify!’
Pilate told them, ‘You take him. You crucify him. I find nothing wrong with him.’” (John 19.6)
Far too often I find myself reacting without even thinking. There is an alternative. We can stand tall, representing the values and priorities we hold most true. We can build the link, never perfect, always closing, between our aspirations and our journey. The process can start today; a fresh start is the gift of a new dawn. The steps are not automatic. They require thinking, intent, and reflection. Whatever people see, whatever we choose to be, the choice was and is ours. Let’s stand tall.
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