Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Filling in the blanks

Starting just recently, Rebekah has spent a few minutes each morning with the crossword puzzle - not with the need to complete every clue, but because it's fun to unravel a few. Interestingly, even though I'm a word guy, I have never done crosswords. So I sip my coffee (fair trade), read my section of the paper, glance over every once in a while, and wait for her to throw an extra tricky question my way.

I think that, so long as we don't get sidetracked by an irrational sense of "My life is not complete unless I fill in every space", this is going to be fun.

Then it occurred to me that many of us approach life that way, including faith and especially politics. We become obsessed with the minutia of detail, fine-tuned correctness, doctrinal purity, legalism and making everything fit just so.

In this morning's puzzle, for instance, we had inserted the word "basin" as one of the answers. It fit beautifully, and even supported the other words. The difficulty was that "basin" could in no wise - even remotely - be considered the correct answer for the question. So we looked at each other:
"Do you care?"
"Nah... how about you?"
"I certainly don't!"
"Fine then..."
The question hung in the air between us for, at the most, a second and a half. We were totally comfortable with basin. It looked good and evidently contained most of the right letters, and we could move on.

It was only later, doing something else in another part of the house, that the word "basis" jumped into my mind and we made the appropriate adjustment. And I'm fairly sure that I'd have never come up with the exact right word if I let "being right" become too important.

The point is engaging the puzzle, allowing the experience to stimulate our minds, growing in skill just a little bit each day and learning some interesting stuff along the way.

I think that's why the "I'm right therefore you must be wrong!" people leave me sad and shaking my head. The obsessive need to line everything up in tidy rows, and to disallow any creative thinking that doesn't interlock seamlessly with everything else that they have already decided... pre-concluded... pre-empted...
  • You have to color inside the lines...
  • Flowers are red... Green leaves are green. There's no need to see flowers any other way than they way they always have been seen... (Nod to Harry Chapin)
  • If you don't look like us, act like us, think like us and have the exact same interpretation of obscure Bible verses as us... then you're going straight to hell (You know who you are!)
  • If you don't eat yer meat, you can't have any pudding. How can you have any pudding if you don't eat yer meat... (Thanks, Pink Floyd)
  • If you don't agree with our politics, then you're not really an American...
OKay, that's enough of that. Back to the crossword puzzle. Back to finding balance and enjoying the journey. Back to God so loved the world. Back to the basin... basics... basis... Whatever.


1 comment:

Pastor Tim said...

We think that perfection brings us peace, but it only breeds a demand for more perfection. It really is about the journey and not the destination. . . I wonder how we effectively teach this idea!?