I am slowly, very slowly, learning an important lesson. What I think I see often is not what is there to be seen. What I think I hear is frequently whispers of what I think should be heard. What I think I read was never intended by the authors to be understood. I wish I could say that I fully understood the lesson in a way that would ensure that I would never make the same mistake again, yet the daily reminders in my life tell me that this will be a slow realization at best.
I find myself listening to others wondering if I understand the story they are sharing. I have rediscovered painful reminders in the past few days that assuming I know, understand, and grasp is a easy mistake. Even when the words are clear, I often cash myself imposing my values and priorities on the details. The result, while interesting, only exists in my imagination!
Even as I struggle with the awareness of what I am doing, I find myself in the company of many. Many seem to be caught in a similar trap. When “Peter and the apostles answered, 'It's necessary to obey God rather than men,'” (Acts 5.29) I doubt they had any idea of the ripple effect that would stretch out for centuries. Even through today, this excuse is used to justify justice instead of mercy, exploitation instead of compassion, and greed instead of community. If the outcome of this statement is anything other than compassionate action, inclusive community, or a response driven by mercy, it is something other than the God I know and love.
Today dawn comes into a white sky. I know that the blue will emerge in time. Until then, things will be unstable and uncertain. Yet, this does not mean that my response has to follow the same track. You and I hold freedom without our hearts and minds. We can choose! We can untwist the twists in our lives. It begins in this moment. We will never do it alone. We need community.
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