I am often intrigued by the responses others make to my blog. Sometimes I’m surprised by the lack of response to my blog. Often the comments made in response to what I’ve shared in writing have more substance and food for thought that anything I’ve written. I am not surprised by that fact. I’ve consistently had the good fortune of being surrounded by folks who are both capable and caring. Ability and compassion coupled together serve to meet needs and offer solutions previously thought impossible.
Tuesday night when I chronicled my thoughts for Wednesday morning’s blog, I simply selected “save” on the blog site and went to bed. Wednesday morning as I hurriedly read through the blog again, I pondered about one of the paragraphs that appeared on the page. It read: “Too often community change and divided opinions is the catalyst that turns people against those with differing opinions. Friendships potentially perish because individuals don’t see eye-to-eye. We fail to remember that the basis of our friendship initially wasn’t contingent on the obstacles that now drive us a part. Perhaps that is the saddest part; our failure to recognize that friendship is of more value than the things that divide us”.
Actually, prior to selecting the “publish” option Wednesday morning, I reread that paragraph three times. Where did it come from? Obviously it contained more substance than I have the ability to write. The thought obviously didn’t come from me. I simply had the privilege of writing it down as it played itself out in my head.
One of the things that frighten me (I started to say concern me, but frighten is a better word) about the controversy that is currently driving a wedge in our community is the reality that divisions can be deadly. When civility and respect are permitted “to be checked at the door”, the outcome never fares well for anyone. Over the course of “the past forever”, I’ve seen it happen time and time again. I’ve seen families with close-knit familial relationships disintegrate overnight. All it takes is the perception that a family member has wronged them.
I guess that shouldn’t surprise me. Doesn’t it happen all the time? Sadly it does, but it is such a contradiction to the values we often claim to believe. Theory and practice can be worlds apart. That is particularly true when it relates to Christian values. Maybe you literally have to be the Incarnate Son of God to be able to say, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”
I know that people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Consequently, I’m simply sharing an observation. It is not my intent to pass judgment. That’s not for me to do. Perhaps the topic is too close to home for all of us that no one opted to comment on the observation, “…Perhaps that is the saddest part; our failure to recognize that friendship is more important than that which divides us.”
When it comes to the issue of incorporation, I fall mostly in the neutral camp. That’s not to say that I don’t have a dog in the fight. I do. I simply don’t have the wisdom to know in which direction to pitch my tent. I don’t yet have enough information to make a prudent decision.
I mentioned earlier this week that anger is always a secondary emotion. From my limited perception, folks on both sides of the issue of incorporation are polarized by their position. Interestingly, the thing that welds them to their posture is identical for both sides. The common denominator is fear. Those supporting incorporation fear what will happen if they fail to incorporate. The other side fears what will happen if they do incorporate. I guess it is as simple as flipping a coin. Both sides are figuratively engraved with the word fear.
I shared it yesterday, but it merits repeating: “One of the hardest decisions you will ever have to make is when to stay and try harder or when to just take your memories and walk away.”
Is there ever a time when one is justified to “throw in the towel” and walk away? It is true, one of the hardest decisions to make is knowing when to stay or walk away.”
I recently came across a story that took place in the 1930s at the height of the depression to a family named Jansen. “They were sharecroppers who lost their farm. When this happened a friend told them of another farm that was available for sharecropping, but he warned them that it was directly across from a farm operated by a mean man named Jud Brewster. The friend said that the farm was vacant because no one wanted to live next to this Brewster guy.
Well, farmer Jansen pushed aside these warnings and said, “Brewster will be no problem. I’ll just kill him.” and with that he moved his family in. One week later, Farmer Brewster appeared at their door in a rage. He said that their chickens were bothering him and he threatened to kill them. So the Jansen family locked the chickens up in the henhouse.
There was peace for a while and then Brewster showed up again. He said, “Jansen, your pigs have been in my garden. They’ll never get in my garden again!” There, in Brewster’s wagon, was their herd of young pigs, all dead. He had shot each of them. Without saying a word, Mr. Jansen buried the pigs.
A few weeks later one of the Jansen boys came rushing into the house saying, “Daddy, go get a gun quick. Jud Brewster’s pigs are in our garden!” The kids could already taste revenge. The father replied, “We won’t need a gun. Just round up the pigs.” After a lot of trouble getting them in the wagon, they headed over to Brewster’s farm.
Jansen knocked on the door and said, “Good evening, Mr. Brewster. Your pigs have been in my garden. I’ve brought them back.” The color drained from Brewster’s face, “My pigs, my pigs were in your garden?” Jansen said, “That’s right. Where do you want us to put them?” Brewster’s body sagged against the door and he said, “Just dump them over behind the barn.”
Jansen replied with a slight grin, “OK, but they’ll just get out again.” When it had sunk in Jansen had not killed the pigs, Brewster clutched his hand like a dying man. They talked for a long time. Brewster even gave Jansen half his pigs to keep, and on Sunday he came to church.
From that point on, he was a changed man. Later one of Farmer Jansen’s sons asked him what he had meant when he said he would kill Brewster back when they first moved in to the farm next to him. He replied, “I didn’t plan on killing him with a gun. I planned to do it another way – by heaping coals on his head. That old neighbor is as dead as a doornail, just like I said he’d be. And we’re glad to be alive to see it.”
I’ve thought it over. I’m going to opt to try harder. It is not yet time to take my memories and walk away.
All My Best!