The news and radio are full of various stories about how the government shutdown is affecting us. Some are truly impactful, like subsidized children’s food programs, but it’s amazing how many stories are about wedding plan snafus or scheduled site seeing trip cancelations. I’m in no way minimizing the impact that people are feeling, though the gravity meter seems a bit out of whack. What has struck me is the gravity of impasses. I am trying hard to get past my initial reactions of anger, a feeling of injustice, frustration at the inability to control, disgust and finally apathy, as I dismiss the whole mess. So as I am going through this process, I don’t know about you, but it is hard to remain calm and dismiss distracting effects while looking for the root cause of the shutdown.

I’ve realized (painfully) that I want compromise. Yes, compromise. That balance between opposing forces that moves things forward. Yes, I want compromisefrom the other guy, that is. Ouch. I don’t really want concessions from the correct side. I want them from the side that is in the wrong. Clearly everyone can see that side is wrong, right? They need to give in; it is just that clear. Don’t ask for MY ideology to cave in. Often I’m exactly like that in my regular day-to-day existence, so why would I expect anything different? I hope for difference, but the reality is that we all have feet of clay. And in my world, most folks’ feet are cement.

I have to change if I’m going to grow. Christ teaches me that it isn’t about “winning.” He turned things upside down. How often am I willing to do the same thing? And if I do, I can’t do it without some ulterior motive like, “Hey guys, look at me, I’m doing the right thing. Yep, I’m doing what Jesus would have done.” I tell you this ‘right living’ is a @#*&! (Statement of fact, not a complaint J). The truth is that impasse occurs within me when my vantage point starts with me. From any angle I look, if it is about me and my ego, I can’t see a path where I’m not right and the other guy is wrong. Of course they feel the same way, so there you have it. Do I give in, surrender my position, or lose the battle and maybe the war? I’m talking about my position on whether or not we should paint the family room grey. Not much different from the big issues if you really peel it back. Giving in is losing in our world. Compromise is not a value. Doing the right thing right now is frequently squelched because of what may or may not happen after that. Doing the right thing shouldn’t be dependent upon my next action or thought or step. It’s easy to say, harder to do.

So how do I do it? I can start by praying. I can ask Jesus to help me understand my motives. I can ask for the strength to do the right thing regardless of what others may or may not think. I can compromise. I was challenged awhile back to go through one day without overruling decisions being made, not asserting my will, not correcting people about using “at” at the end of a question or sentence (one of my pet peeves), not restating a mistaken word or direction someone may have said when I understood what they meant. It was a day, essentially, of not being right. You think not complaining is a challenge? When I am willing to compromise, my relationships are better because other people are left with integrity and worth. They aren’t defeated. I didn’t win, and they didn’t lose. Our family room is blue/green/grey. A compromise and life is good. Now if all the other folks with cement feet would just come to this revelation. Daaag there I go again…Back to the beginning.

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