Who is to blame?
As I wrestled with the rope knot on the tarp covering our boat, two thoughts fought for the lead spot in my brain.
The first thought, given that it was Memorial Day and this used to be my dad’s fishing boat, was of the man who taught me to fish. I still admired and missed him. I let my mind wander down memory lane, fondly thinking of the man who taught me more about life and work than anyone else.
The second thought wasn’t one I wanted to entertain for long. I’d be lying if I said it was easy. The joints in my fingers and wrist were screaming from bone-on-bone arthritis making its presence remembered.
A little anger crept in as I fussed over the stubborn knot.
Anger is better than pain any day, right?
It covers sadness, fear, and discouragement pretty well.
Anger is more often not righteous, but rather fodder from the enemy’s fooling.
The “what if’s” started filling my head…
I’m just 49 – what if it’s worse by the time I have grandkids? How will I take anyone fishing in a decade?
What if the pain gets to the point that I can’t make dinner?
How am I going to help my kids and grandkids when my hands hardly work already?
What will this be like in ten years, given the misery I’m dealing with NOW?
I realized I’d left my time zone and present Dr. Who-style. I’d walked away from the Now I was in to where fear and frustration live, bitterness too – in the non-existent future or the unchangeable past. I fussed about both. Regrets over baton-twirling days in high school and poor college nutrition came. Thoughts of what I ate, the chemicals in my environment, and large corporations filled my head.
I began searching for someone other than myself to blame for the condition of my hands. I hopped aboard the pity-party train, fussing about connective-tissue disorders that disable us.
I forgot all my blessings in an instant.
Too often we find ourselves fussing about what could go wrong and miss what is happening NOW.
As I brought myself back from a future I wanted no part of and reminded myself of what is true, I paid attention to my surroundings.
I had much to be thankful for, and blaming – whether aimed at myself or someone else, wasn’t going to grow cartilage in my joints – but it could increase my pain, taint my outlook on life, and steal my joy. And the research even backs up the Bible once again… 🙂
So what was also true?
I’d lived with the pain for nearly a decade and things hadn’t gotten worse.
The sun shone in the Now I was in – so why head off to someplace that didn’t exist yet, if at all?
Why was I being unkind to myself? And others? Why was I trying to find someone to blame?
I stopped the blaming.
When we returned from the lake, I checked the news. I saw I wasn’t the only one given to blaming this Memorial Day Weekend.
Instead of focusing on thankfulness and stories of heroes from the past that sacrificed for our freedom, I mainly saw my city of Cincinnati making news for the death of one of our zoo’s gorillas, Harambe.
Social media displays everything from destroying the parents of the four year old who fell into the enclosure to attacking the zoo for mourning the loss.
Animal rights activists are calling for the zoo to free all the gorillas and put them in a sanctuary and Matt Walsh decided to make the incident an abortion issue. Others have started petitions to make the parents declared “unfit” for losing sight of their child, while some bloggers dish grace. Some are even trying to turn it into a race issue.
My point? I can see all the perspectives – what I’m writing about today, however has nothing to do with anything anyone else has said yet.
I want to talk about our desire to BLAME when something goes wrong – not just as individuals, but as a culture.
What I find interesting as well, is that you can switch out the names and find people are saying exactly the same thing – about the zoo staff and the parents. “Negligent” has been used to describe both.
And very much like the calling card from that other guy.
My point isn’t about the issue – like most arguments, both sides have merit, while both sides could also be seen as wrong. The Bible tells us to “have nothing to do with foolish arguments because they produce nothing but quarrels.” Look long enough, you’ll find “experts” who will say anything.
2 Timothy 2:22-23
Flee from youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But reject foolish and ignorant speculation, for you know that it breeds quarreling. And a servant of the Lord must not be quarrelsome, but he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, and forbearing.…
This saying is trustworthy. And I want you to emphasize these things, so that those who have believed God will take care to devote themselves to good deeds. These things are excellent and profitable for the people. But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies,arguments, and quarrels about the Law, because these things are pointless and worthless. Reject a divisive man after a first and second admonition,…
How are we doing in that regard today? How’d we do over the weekend?
Do you have the habit of participating in stupid and foolish arguments in your marriage?
Dare you today to be careful what you choose to argue or disagree with someone over. Division isn’t worth it – and people usually have a reason for thinking what they do – even if it isn’t what you think, it doesn’t mean they are wrong.
Dare you today to choose to be agreeable instead, searching for common ground between you and others – that’s what builds the connections we all so desperately seek. Besides – our tendency to be disagreeable is rooted in pride and our preference of being right over righteousness.
As for me, I’m trying to avoid causing more dissension. I hope our veterans got as much attention and appreciation for their service as the Zoo incident did this weekend. Did they?
Or did we all let Satan win a round? Remember his goal is to destroy and separate – do you see how that is happening?
Love to you,
Here’s a few more you might like: