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, FreeFoto.com
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