The complexity that is us

My cousin, Dan, and his wife, Lisa, made the trek from Holland, MI to Chicago for the weekend to celebrate his birthday. These two are wonderfully sweet people with two adorable little boys. Lisa’s open, honest and inquisitive nature is such a welcoming presence amidst so much of the falsity and guardedness I encounter in this world.

With Dan & Lisa’s youngest, Justin, at our family cottage in Michigan.

I met the couple, along with my sister, Rachel, for celebratory birthday drinks, dinner, drinks, dessert, and drinks last night. Admittedly, the ‘drinks’ parts were mostly wine and mostly consumed by me, but I don’t think it necessary to point fingers. At one point during the evening, we were discussing wine, one of my absolute favorite topics of conversation. Lisa and Dan tend to be teetotalers so, more than likely, have difficulty understanding my excitement over a glass of good rosé. I feel about people who don’t drink wine the same way I feel about people who don’t know Jesus – Sympathy. Nevertheless, like I said, they are wonderfully sweet people and so were good sports and indulged me.

The description of cabernet as complex was mentioned, which triggered a musing I’d had earlier in the day about complexity in individuals. This introspection began while listening to the latest episode of the Dear Sugar podcast. People, regardless of how simplistic they seem, are a true labyrinth of emotions, passions, beliefs, carnalities, appetites, hopes, strengths and deficiencies. Whether or not we like to admit it, we all have the propensity for tremendous good and extreme evil. This is part of being human and we should embrace it all. Don’t misunderstand me, this is not an endorsement of giving ourselves over to our evil desires as Dr. Jekyll did with his Mr. Hyde. The power of the dark side might appear to be stronger at times, but sacrificing Anakin to our inner Darth Vader is not a great idea.

Galatians 5:17-18 (MSG)
16-18 My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. Why don’t you choose to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence?

The power of the dark side might appear to be stronger at times, but sacrificing Anakin to our inner Darth Vader is not a great idea.

What I am proposing is that we take a hard, authentic and objective look at ourselves. Acknowledge the demons that stir within, smile at them and allow ourselves to experience a touch of the feelings they excite. When we are able to do this, then we can finally, with an honest mind and true heart, turn our faces to the light, allowing it to wash over and through us. Only when we have the audacity to look ourselves square in the eye and comprehend the totality of our humanness, are we able to fully internalize the light so that it spreads to others in our sphere of influence.

Matthew 5:16 (TLB)
15-16 Don’t hide your light! Let it shine for all; let your good deeds glow for all to see, so that they will praise your heavenly Father.


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