Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Right to be ...

Embracing a perspective that runs contrary to what we see as “Truth” is neither a natural, nor comfortable, function of our human psyche. I offer here, a valuable tool for the sometimes-challenging task of accepting the hard-to-accept.

This “device” was a gift from one of my favorite people. The Reverend James Ellenburg was the Pastor of my church some years back. His background of work in fabric mills of South Carolina, and raising a family while answering the Call to the ministry ... then attending college, in response to that Calling, and maintaining his family, all the while ... gave him a delicious, earthy, spice of perspective on life. He was as 'down-to-earth' as I have ever know a man to be.

I enjoyed, immensely, watching him when he delivered a particularly bothersome point of instruction in a message. He would lean on the pulpit ... look out across the congregation ... and allow a slow, gentle, almost-impish grin to spread across his face. “I can see, by the redness on some of your faces, that you do not like what I am saying to you. That’s alright … you have the God-given, and constitutionally-guaranteed, RIGHT… to be … Wrong.

He would then chuckle with an irresistible kindness that made his point even more profound.

Many times over the past years, I have used Jim Ellenburg’s humorous truth to cope with a challenging person in my path. “It’s O K, you have the right to be wrong.” (silently spoken to myself) puts a smile on my face while defusing a potentially unpleasant moment. What makes it work is the imbedded truth that they do have “the right to BE,” or think, say, or believe whatever or whoever they choose.

I can honor that even if I do need a little spoonful of humor ... to make it palatable.

IMAGES: Through the gracious courtesy of Ian Britton,


lime said...

i need to practice that line more often.....might keep my BP in the normal ranges.

Suldog said...


I've quoted you in my piece today. I'm sure you wouldn't mind, and I thought you might like to know.


John-Michael said...

Use of this little 'tool' has been (for many years now) a lot of fun. And, given that it is, most often, 'in the face' of a circumstance that is not inherently 'fun,' I have often been grateful for its usefulness. I do hope that it serves you as well, My Precious Lime.

Lovingly ...

John-Michael said...

Hi there Jim, my Dearest of Friends. I am delighted (and complimented) that my message to you served such a meaningful purpose. Thank you for the inclusion.

I look forward to my eventual recovery from the physical/emotional 'recovery ward' that this walking pneumonia has put me into. I wasn't even able to celebrate watching the inauguration (which I have been anxiously looking forward to since the election) because I recognized that I couldn't deal with the drain of even an emotional 'high.' This thingy is a REAL DRAG!!

Sure do love you, My SulDog Friend!

Just Joni said...

"Yes, people that think they know everything are very annoying to those of us who really do..."

I couldn't resist...*wink.

John-Michael said...

And, to validate further our unfailing kindness, and unwavering perfection, we graciously allow them to carry on in their self-deluded state. [HUGE loving grin]

You, My Precious Gift from Heaven, are (quite legitimately) THE BEST!!

I love you Joni.

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