Friday, April 08, 2005

Faithful Are the Wounds of a Friend

Recently an old and dear friend posted some comments in response to one of my posts that, well, to be honest, hurt a bit. That was not her intention, but that was the result. At her request, I have deleted those comments. But I have decided to respond to them here, because the hurt was (and here comes the cliche) a good kind of hurt. that's because her words challenged me to to take a look at some things that needed to be addressed.

First of all, she really forced me to take a look at the tone I take in this Blog. And the point she makes is a valid one. While my original intention was to make this a place where I express my thoughts and ideas on many different topics, I do see a trend on my part to Blog about the things with which I disagree. "Confront, refute, and dismiss", I believe, was the phrase used. Ouch. It certainly is not my intent to come across as dismissive. Unfortunately, with my life as hectic as it is, and my time to Blog limited to a few minutes before work and on my lunch break, I have not had the time or the mental energy to Blog on much else. That has been a sin of omission, not of comission, and it is one of which I repent. I shall attempt to try to open up to my readers a little more.

The second wound came in the form of this comment: "What concerns me the most about your confidence is that it looks like you start out with a resolution instead of a question." To a certain extent she is right, but to another extent I believe this misperception is related to the issue of what I've been writing. In any case, I feel the need to defend myself here.

There is a certain level on which I start from fixed notions, "resolutions" if you will. This is unavoidable. No matter what your system of belief, your religion, your philosophy, your politics, you must necessarily start with certain "First Things" -- basic absolute truths that you accept on faith -- the existence or nonexistence of God, the objectivity or subjectivity of truth itself, the nature of the Universe, core values. It is with regards to these "First Things" that I have taken on faith certain of them to be true. If you will pardon the theft of a phrase, I "Hold these truths to be self-evident". For this I will not apologize, from these beliefs I will not deviate. If that means I'm dogmatic, so be it.

Once that has been established, I have made an attempt, as best I could, to be sure that any secondary beliefs (or tertiary, etc.) I hold are reconciled to these First Things. Whenever I have been made aware of an inconsistency, I have done my best to confront it in myself and resolve it -- even if this means my position on a specific topic has changed multiple times, and run the gamut of political or philisophical positions, until I have reached a position my conscience allows me to live with.

But what happens when I cannot find this happy resolution? What do I do when a specific issue presents valid points that seem to put certain of my "First Things" at odds with each other? OR if I reach a logical conclusion that still doesn't feel right to my conscience or my intuition? Well, when that's the case, I continue the endeavor, but refrain from holding a position on that given issue. In short, I admit that I don't know.

So why would it seem to those around me that I'm more confident than I truly am, more set in my ways, more dismissive of other opinions? I believe it has to do with the restraints I have put on my own expressions of belief. You see, most (if not all) of the issues on which I Blog, about which I speak, are issues on which I have done a great deal of wrestling with the angel, and reached an opinion on after much "soul-searching". The problem is, that except for one or two very close friends, I almost never reveal these internal struggles to others. That means they never see the doubts, they never see the fires through which I pass myself, they only see the refined material produced. So rest assured, there are many many things I don't know, and would admit readily I don't know, if confronted. I just tend to keep my mouth shut about them.

Finally, my friend pricked my heart on one more topic, and while it was the friendliest wound, it was the deepest. She reminded me just how much I regret having never completed my college education. I want a degree so badly I can taste it. I've yet to figure out what keeps holding me back from pursuing it. I've been afforded plenty of excuses over the years, but never a compelling reason. I ask for those who read me and care to keep hounding me, and praying for me, and encouraging me, until I do it.

I think that's all the soul-baring for today. Class dismissed.