There are times when I want to be a black and white kind of person. I live in the land of grey about most things. I was probably 7 or 8 when I first heard and understood the Doubting Thomas story. I had a sense of aggravation with Jesus for picking on poor Thomas. (“Put your hand in the wound on my side, Thomas.” Yewww!)
Of course he had doubts. Who wouldn’t? Evidently not Jesus. At least that’s what I thought then and sometimes now.
I don’t go to traditional Bible study classes anymore. In my search for God, I’ve been to quite a few in various shades of fundamentalism. I ended up sitting quietly, nodding when other women shared, and wondering what it would feel like to really believe that every word in the Bible is true starting with Genesis. I have no doubt that God created this world, but did it really start with Adam and Eve?
I don’t really care if someone else believes it does. I am uncomfortable if they insist that I agree with them. Then, the sliver of black and white comes out of me.
“So, when Jesus says, ‘Whatever you do to the least of my brothers, you do to me?’ Who do you think are the least of Jesus’ brothers?” The poor, children, widows. “How about Muslims? What about pedophiles? A child molester is the least of MY brothers, in my opinion. Does that mean that if I do something terrible to them, I’m doing it to Jesus? That’s what it says, doesn’t it?”
And that’s what it means, too. Charity towards all. The Big Book of AA says “Love and tolerance is our code.” There’s no “if” or “but” included in that statement.
Even to Right Wing Republican Fox Network watching conservatives. (And for the sober Republican Fox Network watching conservatives, it means Bleeding Heart Democratic Rachel Maddow watching liberals.)
I’m not proud of my black and white side. It might be small sliver of the whole me but it can be just as bigoted as any right-wing conservative who uses the Bible to justify segregation. Although I’ve gotten better at the always/never thinking the longer I stay sober, I can still insist on my way without any grey area.
Here are some of the areas where I don’t have any middle ground.
1. That I love of my children and grandchildren without reserve. That probably puts me with 98% of the rest of the mothers of this world, but it is the most important black/white area for me. Does that mean I think they are always right? I usually do until proven unequivocally wrong, but I try to keep a little light in the door of open-mindedness. And the definition of children and grandchildren doesn’t mean just those who share my blood. The first time I heard Nina introduce me as her grandmother (not step), I got tears in my eyes. I still get a little shiver of joy when Savanna calls me “Gaga.” It’s a treasured name since she gave it to me.
2. That God loves me even at my worst. When I was an active drunk, I was sure that God would love me better if I were sober. Now that I’m sober and God and I are an item, I think I might love me better since I’m sober, but God loves me drunk or sober. God just loves me. I hear people say that they don’t want to meet God drunk. I don’t either but not because I think God will be mad. People get mad; I’m pretty sure that God just loves. Do I understand that? Nope. My humanity wants revenge and retribution. My higher power wants me to act like I’m a child of God since acting like I’m a child of God generally brings good results and leaves me happy.
3. That Karma doesn’t always work the way I want it to work. As mentioned in Item 2, I do want revenge and retribution. I want Karma in my time so I can see it. I want to believe that God’s meting out justice, raining hot coals on the heads of my enemies. That’s something I have to take on faith. I don’t usually get to see it. Is that fair? I’m probably lucky that I don’t always get to see fair in my life. I’m a big one for justice unless it comes to me; then, I’m praying for the bullet proof vest. Much rather have mercy than justice. If that means everyone gets to share in God’s mercy and sometimes slide on the justice end, then so be it.