Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Compassion...for a Change

Sometimes, what seems to have become generally-accepted behavior in our society runs completely counter to what I think/believe/know from experience. And such is the present seeming inability or unwillingness to see a change of mind or heart as a good thing, as a growing edge, as a sign of maturity and openness to being changed by new information, by new life experiences. Instead, in our world, especially in the highly-charged world of party politics, heightened and exaggerated by the media, to have a change of mind is seen and touted and criticized as “waffling”, as being “wishy-washy”, and becomes a place of political vulnerability and perceived weakness.

Now I don’t know about you, but I have changed my mind innumerable times over the years, altered my position in the light of new information, taken a different road because the road I was traveling was leading to a dead-end. And I have had to admit I was wrong more than once…to eat the proverbial humble pie as I have backed off from what had been a zealously-guarded position. I have seen this always as a good thing…from letting go of my Sunday school ideas of faith and the Divine to letting go of my much earlier Republican positions (gleaned from the ideas and beliefs of my parents) to growing and developing into a person who joyfully and, I hope, graciously, accepts all people as created children of God.

But even more importantly, doesn’t this heels-dug-in position run counter to what people of faith are called upon to believe? After all, at the heart of the Christian faith- and other faiths, too- is the possibility of transformation, of new life. And that, we confirm, can happen only after the death of the old…in Christianity, we call it resurrection. In our “new life”, we leave behind what has kept us bound and welcome into our head and heart space some new idea, making a change of direction. Instead of finding a change of mind and heart objectionable and making of it a focus of contention and criticism, shouldn’t we instead see it as a sign of hope, a sign of growth and development within the individual?
In this election year, I am hoping and fervently praying that we the people will be able to move past our stubborn ideologies and warmly accept those who open themselves to permit the winds of the Spirit to blow through their hearts and minds…those who are not afraid or ashamed to admit that previously held ideas were stultifying and even life-draining…those for whom compassion and justice for all trump the need to be “right”. In this way, perhaps, the One Who Loves can really find expression in our living, our decision-making, our choices, our interactions with one another. Perhaps we can truly operate from a place of respect and consideration for the rights and opinions of others instead of dwelling in continual judgment and criticism and divisiveness. From my mouth to God’s ear…

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