"I think maturity is the ability to tolerate ambiguity." - Rita Mae Brown
When I look outside the windows of my home, I see so many colors. I see J-man's red tricycle, Miss-Miss's honey-blond hair, Bubba's bright blue Thomas toy, the vibrant green leaves of the trees, and the flash of white as our neighbor's dog streaks across the lawn to visit with the kids.
But, when I look at my fellow Americans, heck, just about everybody on this planet, I only see black and white. And that bothers me. Because shouldn't we all be existing in a state of gray?
I remember having a long-ago conversation with a friend and I remember him telling me, "Heather, you either have to be black or white. You can't be gray. Gray is evil." And that one comment astounded me. Because I see it the other way around. Gray is the good place to be. To either be absolutely convinced that you're right or absolutely convinced that you're wrong is bad. I believe that is where the crooked path lies.
Allow me to explain. It seems that throughout humankind's awareness of self, we are either right or wrong, on or off, go away or come here, or any variation thereof. We're each like a Bit from the movie Tron. "YESYESYESYESYES!!!" or "NONONONONONO!!!" To my way of thinking, this is not good. If you're one way or the other, with no ability to meet in between, there is no compassion, no empathy for how the other person has come to their conclusion or why they feel that way. Democrats refuse to reason why Republicans want to hoard their dough with lower taxes and Republicans think Democrats are daft for wanting to hand their checks over to the government. A child at school forgets that he still has his pocket knife in his backpack from his family camp-out and yet he is punished as if he took a handgun, with intent. It's all just crazy.
Why can't we see the gray?
Living with toddlers has forced me to live in the gray, in a world of compromise. "OK. Fine. You can watch Diego for 30 more minutes but then I want you to clean up." or "If you won't eat the peas, will you drink the V8 fruit juice?" It's a constant melding of the black and the white into this gigantic gray mush that still frustrates me, but at the end of the day, chills me out. I'm learning to accept that my rights aren't absolute, that they may be right for me, but not for my kids, my husband, my friends, or the rest of the world.
My perception of God is mine and mine alone. If someone asks me what I believe, I will gladly tell them, but not force them to accept. My ideals of how I want to live my life are mine and mine alone and I'll not force you to live your life in the same way. As your friend, I will expect you to respect me, my family, and my beliefs as I will respect you and yours. Past that? It's all gray. If that respect is lost, I will slip away into the gray. I don't expect to agree with everyone all of the time, but I do expect us to find a gray area, that interstate median covered in wildflowers where we can meet and talk about those things that make us who we are. With no on or off, right or wrong, good or bad. We just are. Afterward, we can go back to our sides of the highway, but know we have that in-between space where we get along.
I am black and I am white. But my interactions with all of you are gray.
Unless, of course, you're a bully. Then I'm just going to scream at you and call you an asshole. But that's something else entirely.