Wednesday, May 4, 2016
By Micky Wolf
Color is a good thing. Most of us have one or two favorites. Which is not to say the rest of those on the spectrum are not a delight to the eye or, given the circumstances, stir strong thoughts or feelings of one sort or the other.
Color plays an important part in interior design. Most people wouldn’t choose to paint an entire room black and then fill it will all black furnishings.
Colors also affect what’s in our wardrobe. Take a quick glance in your closet. You’ll likely see complimenting shades of blues, greens, reds, etc.—combinations that help you look and feel your best.
These examples reflect personal taste. A unique style. Ways to appreciate and enjoy our environment, or be at peace in our own skin.
On the other hand, there’s one area of our life where making a color choice may not end so well.
Being black or white in our thinking—I’m right, you’re wrong. This person is good, that person is not.
When we default to labeling people or situations with this kind of attitude—often judgment in the disguise of moral righteousness—we risk missing the bigger picture. The one that may include an explanation for a person’s behavior that is rooted in a life experience unbeknownst to us.
What does that mean?
First of all, it means you and I live in a world that is shades of color—including black and white. Gray might be hot right now as the new beige in home decorating, but understanding its value in interpreting what unfolds in our lives on a daily basis is integral to being and becoming a whole and holier person.
Constant conversation interrupters (don’t we all do that on occasion) can be viewed primarily as rude or obnoxious—or they can be understood as people who may have had too many experiences of not being heard. Of having to speak louder and longer than everyone else—numerous siblings, multiple families, boisterous workplace peers—in order to get a word in edgewise. No, interrupting is not the best solution but if you haven’t learned another way to try and connect, you use what you know.
Allowing there’s a reasonable and responsible (gray) explanation for the bad habit of interrupting is one thing.
Now you might be thinking, “But sin. And sinners. That’s black and white. No problem there.”
Yes. There. Is.
Hate the sin, not the sinner is a phrase that’s easy to toss around.
“But I don’t hate the sinner,” we insist.
What happens when we don’t recognize that hate can go by many names?
…being condescending rather than making the effort to be respectful
…acting out of pity rather than with a heart of empathy
…labeling someone as stubborn rather than demonstrating how to persevere
…implying they are lazy rather than encouraging them to discover other options
And now we come full circle to the feathers in the photograph.
Yes, there is a black one. Yes, there is a white one.
It’s also obvious there’s one that is both black and white.
And yet that’s not all.
If you could hold them close and examine the details, you’d see tiny white flecks in the “black” one—and tiny black spots on the “white” one.
Nigh on to impossible to see those with the naked eye from a distance, even of a few inches.
Except for the eye of God.
Which, last I checked, wasn’t the name on my driver’s license.
Wednesday, April 27, 2016
By Micky Wolf
The word burst does not conjure quiet images of subtle movement.
To burst open is to erupt. Suddenly. An explosion of various size or intensity.
So, then why would I invite you to be open to such an experience in your life?
Because I believe the action of bursting is often perceived as negative. Messy. Unpleasant.
Let’s take a different perspective and see what we discover.
The lilac blooms burst into purple masses of plumes, a sensory-scented sight and delight pleasing even and unto the angels.
The sun bursts through the gray haze and the grayer clouds, pushing them aside to bathe the earth in light and warmth.
The infant bursts into laughter, wordless, yet tickled with the tiniest touch of a new mother’s tender caress.
And maybe the most magnificent and meaningful of all…
The student fails, bursts into tears, then commits anew to overcoming the challenge.
The solder fights, bursting into action to defend his comrades, to stand firm in truth, protecting family and nation.
The widower grieves, bursts into sobs, the sounds of which only the Divine can hear, and then respond to with a whisper to the broken-hearted.
The father bows, deep in prayer, then bursts into praise and song for blessings of healing and restoration, given pressed down and spilling over by a good and gracious God.
The sinner, in repenting and accepting forgiveness, burst into exaltations of thanksgiving in being reconciled with the Giver of Life, now and forever.
Bursting. In so many ways, a good thing.
What needs to burst open in your life in this moment?
What might you be doing to restrict or avoid a God-centered eruption, the result of which will shower you with peace, joy, and blessings you could never have dreamed or imagined?