Tuesday, February 18, 2014

call no man good




In the midst of my fury-induced torpor, I found some peace as my head and my heart calmed.
Released from a hot rush of anger, my mind reasoned that the largest mistake we make is to assume a divine role in our lives; to anoint ourselves CEOs of the universe and to fool ourselves into believing we have control over the daily happenings of our lives.
Following on its heels is the second-largest mistake, which is to think that there is another human being who we could possibly ought to look up to as the example of all goodness--to appoint them as our deity on a pedestal.
There is no human who will not disappoint, who will not one day display a crack in their armor, a flaw in their character, a blemish on their skin.
It's called being human and as long as we don't mistake humans for gods, it shouldn't bother us all that much.
Really it shouldn't. 
Then, finally freed from a maelstrom of emotions, my intellect decided two things:

one. you can never demand kindness of someone.
You can only just be more kind.
And if you spend your time griping about their lack of kindness, then you have stopped being kind, and you've just become part of the problem.
As one of the more darling and sassier of my friends recommends: just be kind and love Beyoncé.
And you don't even have to love Beyoncé; you just have to give her mad respect.


two. human beings ought to give advice the way God gives advice.
The best advice-givers that I know are people who don't give their opinion.
Often, too many of us (myself included), are tempted to give our opinion of a situation, and call it advice.
That is not advice.
That is your opinion.
To which, of course, you are 500% entitled.
But, like most opinions we hold, it is probably going to be wrong about 99.76% of the time.

The best-advice givers I know, however, are the ones who give advice to each individual individually.
You listen to the particular case and the particular problem and recognize that the particular people involved in the particular scenario are two human mysteries utterly unknown to me. 
And the better a person is at drawing out the character of human beings the more fully will they understand that the more they understand a person's actions, the less predictable and graspable they become.
Thus, a person whose stance is one of awe and wonder at another human being, and who hesitates to speak their opinion, knowing, as my father once so wisely said: you can never really know the full story

The more you live in this world, the more fully you realize that you are saddled with a finite perspective of the world,
and that even if your best friend pours out their soul to you, and describes each moment of their day in detail, you would never be able to fully understand her day, because you are not living in it with her.
And the great bother with being incarnational beings is that we really can't understand things unless we're there, present, body and soul.
Once we realize that, I think we can begin to realize that our opinions, while beautiful and beloved, are simply that: our opinions. Not Gospel truth, Divine Revelation, or an accurate depiction of reality.

And so the best advice-givers I know are the ones who give advice like God.
They listen.
They ask question after question of you, until you're tired of trying to answer questions you don't want to think about.
They listen more.
They watch you.
They observe.
And they try to draw out of the dark recesses of your heart the deepest desires that you find there, and drag it out into the light, so that you can see what lies inside of you.
Those are the best advice givers I know.
The ones who remind you that falling in love is something to which one ought to be vulnerable,
the ones who remind you not to settle for anything less than the deepest desire of your heart,
the ones who remind you that you are a human being different than all other human beings, and if another human being tries to form you into their image and likeness, into the mold of they way they think the world ought to be, you should run away.
The advice-givers I know are the ones who remind you to always recall you are not in control, to be open to surprises, to live in what they euphemistically call "the creative tension" [read: overwhelming chaos] of the world.
Because the point of being an individual human is that there is an individual story fashioned for each of us that we are constantly seeking to live out.
The best advice-givers I know are the ones who don't try to predict what lies down the road ahead, but simply help you live more joyfully and deeply in the present.
The ones who ultimately look at you and see a human being so delightfully different and majestically glorious, that the only advice they can offer you is to encourage you to be the incandescent human you were made to be.
A daffodil would look foolish if we tried to fashion it into a rose.
So do you, little daffodil. Do you.

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