choosing to change or not

I was talking with a friend and she asked “couldn’t we just talk about the weather? Sometimes you are exhausting.”

She’s right.

I can be …….. a lot.
I’ve written about it before. Everything is something and that something is fascinating. I needs to be thought about and considered. It needs to be poked, prodded and examined in every which way.

And there are times when this is profoundly helpful. Times when this idiosyncratic part of me finds things that are interesting and in some exceptionally small circumstances even enlightening for people.

But my goodness can I make simple thing complicated.

We all do it from time to time don’t we?

The simple, obvious answer or choice is right there but we complicate it.

I wrote not long ago about how we create op-outs for our love. How we take something super clear like “love your enemies” and affirm it in our words but then slip these little opt outs on the end. These qualifiers.

“Of course you love your enemy, BUT if my family is in danger…”

“Of course we need to love everyone, BUT they need to be trying to change…”

And when a truly complicated issues arises? Far to often we refuse to even engage with it. To think about the implications and the way we are a part of it. Complicated issues involve other people in other parts of the world. We don’t need to get into it.

What are we doing?

We complicate the clear so we don’t have to act and we simplify the profoundly difficult to justify how we act.

The simple call to love your enemy is unbelievably difficult so we complicated it. We spend a lot of time trying to define exactly what is an enemy is or who our neighbour is. And until we get it sorted we feel fine loving no one. We don’t know who we’re supposed to love. We need to figure it out.

And the more we complicate it the longer we put off doing the things we know we are absolutely supposed to.

In almost the exact opposite way, we take the outrageously complicated and simplify it to reinforce the way we see things and the actions we are already taking, rather than do the hard work of changing our current behaviours.

Systemic oppression is still a huge issue in our society. But rather than understand the complexity of the systems and impact those systems are having on the people being oppressed by them, we simplify them.

“People are poor because they are lazy” simple, clean, easy. Let’s not let any context or understanding of one of the most complex issues facing our society creep in. It’s all about effort, making it entirely their fault and since it’s their own fault they can fix it themselves.

No need to get involved. No need to see how we are actually supporting that oppression. No need to be part of the change. The answer is easy, go get a job.

We do this over and over and over. Creating ways of thinking that do nothing more than reinforce the norm. A norm that often benefits us at the expense of the very people we are called to love.

In the end both of these ways of thinking do exactly the same thing. They stop us from changing. They stop us from loving.

They stop us from being Christian.

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…quiet

I’ve said it many times before and I’ll say it a bunch more, the life of compassion is simple, not easy but simple.

We can do so much more in our quiet presence, being present and attentive to someone than we can with our words. That was the idea this week, just let someone vent and rant.

It’s so simple to be loving, caring and compassionate.

Just shut up and listen.

Simple, just not easy.

the uncomplicated can still be hard

Today’s post was not coming together.

I started and stopped 4 times and changes topics 3 times. It just wouldn’t write.

My ideas wouldn’t come together. I’d get half way through and say “what am I writing about? Are these even sentences?”

I was sitting at my computer telling myself to just tell a story, any story, get something out. But then I’d step back and look and realize that I was rambling in what may or may not be sentences with absolutely no succinct thought. This post was far from perfect and I was wondering if it going to do all the things I wanted it to?

Then I thought about how we approach relationships.

For something so central to our existence sometimes they’re just hard and especially at the start!

I’ve been asking you to engage in relationship. I’ve been asking you to talk to your co-workers, neighbours, those who come into your life.

So what do I have for you today?

Sometimes it’s going to be hard, kind of like a post that won’t write. There will be looooooooong awkward pauses. You’ll say something silly and think about it for the rest of the day wondering if they’ll ever talk to you again. You’ll make mistakes, over step the depth of the relationship, talk when you should listen, and push when someone needs support to stand.

But relationships, like this post, take work. You might have to push through some tough spots, apologise for mistakes, go back to the start and try again.

Is it extremely insightful to say that relationships are hard? No.

But sometimes I need someone to tell me that it’s just a part of the process. They make mistakes too and that’s all a part of honest real relationships building.

Give yourself a break. This stuff isn’t complicated but that doesn’t mean it isn’t hard.