There are certain parts of who I am that I know are weaknesses and strengths at the very same time. I know that my love for people – for getting to really know people – is something I get from my mother. I know it is a strength. I know learning from people and learning about people and seeing how different personalities work together brings me joy and fulfillment and hope. I also know that this very love for people leads me to always believe the best in another, to always try to do right by those around me, to always assume that each person is fundamentally good.
That opens me up for a world of hurt.
Not everyone has good intentions. Not everyone thinks for themselves. Not everyone understands or cares to find out the truth before they speak. Not everyone will see the world – or the situations in the day to day of it – the way that each of us does.
There is a very fine line between keeping grace and defending everything you are – everything you believe. A line so thin that it physically hurts to hang onto it – to not cross it. It makes me ill to see and hear ignorance and hatred and unjustified disdain.
Every part of me wants to call out every untruth that has been said, wants to offer fact to cancel out fiction, wants to explain that their source of information is so wrong that they need to see things with their own eyes, and to remember the kindness done to them.
I don’t believe a person should call out the acts they do for others. I don’t believe goodness shared is something to be boasted of or told about. I believe people should do good because we as children of God are made to do good. That when a friend or a neighbor or an acquaintance or a stranger is in need you give what you can, you do what you can, you offer what you can.
When a fellow army wife is sick while her spouse is away, you bring a bag of groceries, then you make another trip and bring pedialite for the kiddos who have caught the bug too. When a friend is in labor while her husband is deployed and she asks you to stay, you stay. When someone’s washer and dryer is out-of-commission, you open your home and wash their clothes. When a friend has surgery and is stuck in bed (and shares the same "addiction"), you deliver Starbucks. When a fellow spouse has a new baby, you make a muffin basket and cook up a meal. When someone is having a hard time, you tell them they can do this, that they are made for this, that there is no room for doubt. That they are strong enough to make it through, that they have to believe in grace. We give what we are able simply because we are called to give.
I believe that when it is needed, you go the extra mile. When someone is hurting, you offer comfort. When people work hard and give much that you thank them and acknowledge them and recognize that their choice to do good positively affects the whole.
I believe that the choices you make – that when you choose to look at the whole picture, at the entire person, at the entire family – when you choose to do good by them, to do better by them – that the correct choice to keep that quiet can be hard when it is something they will never know. When it is something that they can never understand. When it is something that when they speak ill out of ignorance you want to shake them and tell them. When the choice to do good by a family, who does not understand, will remain something between you and your Maker … that is a time for grace.
The logical part of me knows that people do hateful things for little reason. That one person whispering in the ear of another can distort what they have known for themselves. That people will twist and misconstrue and make the truth whatever works for them. They will make reality what they need it to be.
Our human inclination is to defend our own – to defend ourselves. To defend our friends who are hurt. To lash out. To prove wrong. To correct error. To pick apart an argument and show just how embarrassingly false it is.
Days like today may be meant to challenge my resolve. To challenge me to love in spite of. To give in spite of. To do good in spite of.
Because there is no tally between you and those you do good by. There is no keeping score or boasting of or checking off. You do good because you are called to be kind, to give what you are able, to do unto others as you would want done unto you.
Ignorance hurts. Lies cut deep. But to give up who I am, to give up how I to my core believe I am called to live, due to ignorance! What a tragedy that would be.