Sunday, February 8, 2015

Understanding not understanding

Sometimes you have to understand that people just aren't gonna understand. You also have to understand in that instance that it's ok for them to not understand. It doesn't make them bad people because they don't understand you.  It also doesn't make you a bad person because they don't understand you. Do you understand?

I have been a Michael Jordan fan my entire life. Growing up I collected everything that I could get my hands on that had anything to do with him......magazines, t-shirts, shoes, posters, even that awful cologne......if he was tied to it, I had to have it. There were many others in the MJ brotherhood with me who completely understood and shared my fascination with the man wearing number 23 in the Bulls uniform who would fly through the air from the free throw line with his tongue sticking out. But then there were those other folks who couldn't understand my borderline obsession with the man from Wilmington, NC. And you know what? It was OK that they didn't understand. It certainly didn't make me like them any less and I hope it didn't make them like me any less. That much, I understood. 

My future son in law has tattoos ..... lots and lots of tattoos. He also has gauges in his earlobes. Some people would look at Wes from a distance and not understand why he would have done such things to his body. Others might look at him and find a great connection with him because they too have tattoos and ear piercings. You want to know what I think about Westen's body art and the holes in his ears? I don't think a thing about it. Here is what I think about. I think about the fact that he loves my daughter and granddaughter with every fiber of his being. I think about the fact that he is a hard worker and is going to provide a decent and honorable living for his family. I think about the fact that he has a heart as good as pure gold and that he would do anything for anyone at anytime if they needed his help. That's what I think. Do I have to understand everything he does? Nope. Just take care of my babies and love em. That's all I need to understand. 

Sometimes you have to understand that people just aren't gonna understand. Several weeks ago as a small group of us began the discussions of the possibility of planting a new church in Hickman County, I understood that some people wouldn't understand our desire to do so.....and that's ok. You see I have been on the side of being misunderstood many, many times before now. Communication has not always been one of my strong suits, so therefore I have in times past said and written things that maybe didn't come across exactly as I meant for them to. I have come to realize that people can't see facial expressions, experience emotion and absorb genuine intent into many of the things that are simply typed on a keyboard and then sent out for the whole world to see. My participation in the beginning of Hope Church has brought about some of the same "I don't understand" reactions from some really, really good people.....people of whom I have great respect and love for. To this point in my journey with Hope Church I have only received one "I'm writing this letter to you in love" letter. In times past I have received such letters that were self-identified as such but were nothing of the sort. My most recent letter in this category though was absolutely one of the best letters I have ever received. It was sent from a person who I respect dearly and love wholly. And I can tell you this, every word written in that letter was written with the most sincere attitude possible and a genuine care and concern for me and my family. The person who sent me the letter sent it out of a place of their not understanding my motives and willingness to be a part of a new church start-up. There are some letters that I have learned to not respond to....but this isn't one of them, because it was written by a good person with a good motive out of a good heart. I sent a return letter trying to respond to their concerns as best and as honestly as I could. I hope that perhaps they will better understand my involvement with Hope Church after they read my letter, but you know what? Even if they don't come to any better level of understanding, that's ok cause I'm gonna love em anyway. 

It has occurred to me as I have gotten older that many times we allow our fear of being misunderstood keep us from doing things that we should be doing.....whether it be things of this world or things that pertain to the world yet to come. Who is to say how many inventions will never be invented, how many novels will never be written, how many relationships will never be initiated, how many careers will never be chosen, how many spiritual paths will never be mapped out because of the fear that others might not understand why those things were done, or at least attempted. I am a people pleaser by nature. I want folks to always understand and accept my motivations for the decisions that I make. I know though, that bar is set way too high. Folks won't always understand and accept my motivations ..... and that's ok. I understand that they won't always understand. This much I also know, God loves me and he knows what is truly in my heart. That much only he can understand. And that's ok too :)

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