Sometimes, my wife says I am stubborn and impatient. Fortunately, she did not add judgmental because that would be just stupid!
Once I was participating in some leadership event focusing on the nature of the Trinity, the future of the church or some such topic. One activity paired us with a partner. Very quickly we avoided the given task, and nailed a critical issue in her personal relationship. When her husband finished with dishes from his snack, he left them on the counter beside the sink rather than placing them in the sink. The long-embedded sliver festered.
And we had not even touched on the proper way to load a dishwasher!
I also hear the some people, while grocery shopping, simply throw things into the basket without ordering them by size or weight. Surely this qualifies as an urban legend! Not to mention those who simply stuff their paper money into a wallet without regard for numerical order or checking to see if every picture faces the correct way. Chaos!
During the course of our relationship my wife and I have learned not to pull the pin on certain grenades. The tendency to generalize is one of those explosives.
Although I may be impatient standing in line does not mean I am impatient with all people in all situations. I may occasionally be overly steadfast in certain approaches but this does not mean I am closed to all suggestions for improvement. I can change if there is absolutely no other choice.
I am a mixture of motivation and action. In some areas, I am like a bowling ball that runs straight down the lane to score a strike. In others, even though my intention and delivery feels consistent, the ball ends up in the gutter long before reaching the goal. Sin is the theological descriptor of the bias in the ball.
The current tendency towards black and white, one dimensional characterizations of history and public figures disturbs me if only because my own being is both complex and ambiguous. No matter what it says on my resume or blog descriptor, I am a person seasoned with contradiction, ambiguity, failure and peculiarity. Don’t fence me in!
I am more than impatient, more than a consumer, a worker, or retired.
Of course, this does not excuse responsibility and accountability. I do not require long in the confessional to admit not only my own peculiarities but decisions and actions that have harmed both myself and others.
Ignoring the thickness of our being is like pushing vegetables to the back of the fridge and forgetting them. Eventually the brown slimy juice of resentment seeps out.
Those who would reduce complexity gain a false sense of certitude, entitlement permeated with self-righteousness but the pinch hurts.
What would we have to talk about in our relationship if my being was simply a two-dimensional stamp? Where the fluidity and discovery? The question of who will I be in this next chapter of my life loses force and momentum.
As the Biblical scholar Walter Brueggemann notes, “thinness and monologue robs life of freedom and newness, miracles and forgiveness, possibility and reconciliation.”
Take a step back to the cosmic. An approach that reduces people and life also reduces God into a static idol instead of the dynamic, powerful force constantly pushing for life, justice and hope. And I, at times stubborn, impatient and judgmental, would be much lesser without the “live and in colour” opportunities given through confession, lamentation, repentance, petition, forgiveness, and new life.