Sitting on my porch, the quiet draped over me like a warm blanket softly covering my shoulders. The sun flitted through the clouds, like an old friend playing hide and seek. Or more like a young child who can’t stay hidden for long and jumps out yelling, “I’m here!”
I love sunshine and blue skies, but I’ve always had a penchant for clouds. Not total gray, where gloom feels heavy and no light shines through. Cottony cumulus clouds that morph into shapes. As kids, my sisters and brother and I would lay in our backyard and describe what shapes we saw floating above us. Being four very different kids, we never saw things the same way. Where I would see a duck flying, my brother might see a pirate ship and my sisters would see a dolphin and a bird in a nest. We’d try and point out why our view was the right one. “Can’t you see the wings?” “Those aren’t wings, those are masts!”
Perspective is individual, so affected by circumstances.
So much of how I saw things when I was younger depended on my mood. When I was feeling calm and peaceful, I was more likely to see whimsical images that made me smile. If I was hurting inside because of conflict with family or friends, I’d see darker depictions that matched my feelings.
The clouds I saw as I sat on my porch were fanciful: a flying mouse, a fish with arms, a winged horse.
It had been a good day.
As real as individual perspectives are, I rarely think about that truth when I have disagreements with someone. When I’m frustrated because another person won’t grasp the value of my way of thinking, I don’t consider where they’re coming from, how their day has been, what’s going on behind the scenes that I don’t know about.
I just get irritated.
So much of the time disagreements are merely misunderstandings. When someone says one thing but what is heard by the other is completely different. Rather than embrace our differences with interest, it’s so much easier to become reactive and critical of the position held by others.
It’s why having a God who listens to me, who knows my story better than I do and loves me without me having to become or do something to please Him is so freeing. He knows my brokenness affects the way I act and treat other people. He gets how my mess creates more mess for others. Such acceptance, love, and forgiveness have nothing to do with what I can provide for Him.
He chose to make me whole in His eyes through Jesus, who paid the price for my bad choices and miserable mistakes.
There’s deep security in knowing I’m loved and wanted.
Many struggle with faith conversations. We misunderstand each other and rather than talk, we become uncomfortable with our differences.
We’re like those clouds; our time here is brief, and then we’re gone.
What do we really need to know? That there is Someone out there who is greater and who is worth knowing?
How uncomfortable are you willing to be to ask the question?
*From the song “Both Sides Now” by Joni Mitchell