Whenever I talk about my faith or talk about pivotal moments in my life I inevitably talk about my 2nd-ish week in Grade 11. A random series of a events culminate into a moment I hang a lot of my future on. Without any discernible reason beyond instinct, I found myself not immediately leaving the school out the back door. Instead I found myself in front of my locker. Now this might not be odd to you, but for the entire time I had a locker I used it maybe 4 times. I used it so little it was not uncommon for me to have to go to the front office and ask them for my locker combo. But here I was, standing there, like an idiot. I mean it. There was NO REASON for me to be there. And after what my gut was telling me was a significant enough amount of time I decided to exit the school out a door I’d never used before that was actually a really inconvenient direction for me to exit. But as I left a man who would change my life forever with 7 words burst forth from the music room and said “You! Try out for Dracula the Musical!” Uhhh ok? Let me also take this moment to clarify a couple things;
- I had never sang in public in my life. Ever. Not even once. You know all those kids concerts you go to as a kid? Yeah I just mouthed the words.
- This might seem strange to many of you, but I was a shut in. I was quiet and reserved and kept to myself. I was not a theater kid, I was a wrestler (solo sport) and Chess Player (fucking NERD!)
I would over the years attribute divine intervention to this strange series of events which inexorably lead to massive changes in my life. And for certain this was a Fortuitous meeting for me. I had no spine as a teenager. I didn’t stand up for myself on any level, and knowing what I know now about mental health, I’m fairly certain had I stayed on that path, I would not have turned out OK. I would have turned into a “yes man” that everyone walked all over with zero self confidence, no self esteem, and most decidedly single. I attribute a lot to that meeting and I am forever thankful for the man who would become one of my first real friends, my best friend, and then my brother.
But the thing is it’s a little more complicated than that. And that’s OK. It should be. Most things are, and we need to start remembering that before we end up killing each other.
Over the course of two weeks there was the en masse kneeling at NFL games as well as in other sports, a guy in Edmonton who ran over a bunch of people — an ISIL flag in his car suggesting motive — another guy outside of Nashville Tennessee shot up a church — a note found on his person suggests in retaliation to the white supremacist shooting in Charleston a little over 2 years ago — and now most recently the killing of over 50 people and wounding of another 500 in Las Vegas Nevada. This of course is only the tip of the ice burg when you look at a world lens, but even by a North American lens this is exceptionally narrow. The month of September alone has 27 mass shootings spread throughout the greater United States that haven’t received as much broad coverage. I remember a few weeks ago this bozo started calling it a conspiracy that nobody was covering the shooting in the small and remote Tennessee church… I don’t think he understood the truth of the whole thing — I mean other than the glaring errors in his reporting like, say, the nationality of the shooter. Not only was the location so remote that almost no major news agency had reporters nearby, there’s so many mass shootings, that it’s in a lot of ways stop becoming news. I mean look at that number. 27 shootings. That’s almost 1 a day for the whole month.
And here’s the the problem — I mean other than dead people of course — we need to talk about these complex issues. There’s more to kneeling during the National Anthem than disrespecting the flag. There’s more to that guy running people over Edmonton, or to the mass shootings in Tennessee and Las Vegas… But we’re not talking about it. Everyone is trying to come to 10 word conclusions, and it’s not helping anything. There’s more to people kneeling than Donald Trump and disrespecting the flag. There’s more to the TN shooting than a media conspiracy to not cover people harming Christians, there’s more to these shootings than a debate on gun control. We do need to talk about these things of course. We need to talk about how right now in the United States there are enough guns that are known to be in the civilian market to arm every man woman and child twice. But it’s not as simple as throw away all the guns. There’s the gun lobby, there are hobbyists and enthusiasts, and competition shooters. There are people who make a living who going through an obstacle course and blowing away sandbag people or skeets. It’s a big long conversation and as we talk about it the most important thing for you to remember?
Embrace the complexity.
When you’re talking about these subjects with people, don’t talk in absolutes. Don’t summarize these situations in a few sentences. Ask questions. Be OK with “I don’t know” and understand that our lack of cooperation, and our active choosing of dissidence isn’t solving anything. Digging in your heals sounds good. Standing on principals seems like a positive message. But here’s the thing: There aren’t many days with absolute rights and absolute wrongs, and almost all of those days include dead kids.
Embrace the complexity.
– Have a good’er.
P.S. I’m making changes to the site so things up there might get… hairy.