24
Sep
20

The Right Question…

Since we now live in a new state, Joan and I recently decided to do a little exploring.

We drove to the southwestern part of Colorado and set ourselves up in the lovely little town of Ridgway. We highly recommend it, in case you are ever looking for a picturesque, unspoiled, little mountain getaway town. 

On our third day there we asked our GPS, “How far is it to Telluride?” We had heard great things about the town of Telluride and wanted to drive over and do a little exploring.

Our GPS quite accurately told us it was 15 miles from Ridgway to Telluride…

… as the crow flies, that is.

We discovered that if you happen to be a human instead of a crow, limited to traveling in a car across paved roads – as we were – there is a completely different answer to the question, “How far is Telluride?”

That answer is thirty-nine miles

That trivial little exercise caused me to wonder; could we be in the midst of one of those times when some of us are not asking the right question?

With a major political election looming on the immediate horizon, the question seems obvious; Trump or Biden? Democrat or Republican? Liberal or conservative? 

Pick your side. Make your speech. Cast your ballot.

But what if those are not really the right questions at all?

What if the right (better) questions are somehow deeper… more fundamental and essential? And what if these better questions concern the kind of people you and I will BE from here on out instead of which political horse we choose to hitch our wagon(s) to?

Make no mistake… I am watching the current political hullabaloo like a hawk. At times it is more entertaining than an NFL game. At other times, it is more frightening than a Stephen King novel. And I definitely do have a favorite in this race.

But the more I watch this show and the more blood that is spilled, the more discouraged I get about the real benefits of ANY potential outcome. 

We can change the political circumstances in which we live. But until we fundamentally change the people we are – the way we think, the way we interact with one another, and the way we live our lives – neither of these would-be political messiahs is really going to make much difference at all.

I propose that a better question for us each to ask ourselves today might be this one: what kind of edges will my life have from here on out?

What I mean by that is…

  • Will the edges of my life be made up of a hard, impenetrable shell? Will I pour all of my energy into fortifying myself against anything that might penetrate and possibly harm me? Will I “batten down the hatches” and look upon anything unfamiliar as a dangerous threat? Will I echo Simon and Garfunkel as they sang, “I am a rock… I am an island”?
  • Or will my edges be soft and vulnerable? Will they be easily punctured by the voice, the views, or the needs of another? Will I/we dare to open ourselves to the stranger? Will I/we dare to occasionally say to someone, “I don’t know. I might be wrong about that. Let me think about it”? Will we be humble and open to the needs of our neighbors?

The temptation in unsettling, uncertain, anxious times is to try and build as strong a wall as we possibly can. To seek safety. To armor-plate the edges of our lives.

And yet, as natural an instinct as shell-building seems to be, it is the polar opposite of the model of Christlikeness. 

Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and are carrying heavy burdens and I will give you rest.”(Matthew 11:28, NRSV).

And the writer of 1 Peter said, “Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7 NRSV).

Yes, it is a vitally important time in our political life as a country. But I hope we can each find a way to look past the noise and smoke, ask the right question…

… and then perform our civic duty accordingly.

Abundant blessings;


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