Nuance is a good word. It’s a word that probably needs to be in our lives and vocabulary a little bit more. It’s one of those words that helps us not live for too long in the land of black and white. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against certainty, it’s the certain stuff that holds me to this earth, that holds me to the reality of God in a world that screams loudly in my face that I’m an idiot for doing so.
What I’ve been pondering recently is that those kinds of certainty are a fairly small circle compared to the vast amount of stuff we just don’t know or can’t be fully sure about. The problem comes when we confuse certainty in some areas with absolute certainty in every area of life. There are a vast swathe of issues, life experiences and knowledge where we need nuance, where we need to see that there are many angles on an argument, many differing responses to circumstances and where there is a need for holding onto the space inbetween.
I guess I’m thinking about this in reference to the main thing going on in my world at the moment, the land of pregnancy. I’m looking for a middle way of responding to all that is going on with my body at the moment. It’s all too easy to grumble and complain when I am tired and sore and just want to sleep all the time. I want to run from those ways of responding as I know I’m in an incredibly fortunate position, that we chose this path in life etc. I am genuinely thankful for what I’ve been given. I don’t however want to head down the other path of over optimism (as if I could anyway) and pretend life is shiny and joy filled when it’s hard and weary at times.
Somewhere between the land of complaining and over optimism lies the great truth of reality. How we deal with the circumstances of our lives matters – we can complain, we can gloss over things or we can hold onto reality in the mess. We can search for a honest deep response to what is going on which honours our Maker and walks his ways through it. This is not a way of despair or pretending all is fine but of treading the tension line between them. It’s about finding a way of being real about the struggles. Bringing them to him, asking for help, being thankful and allowing him to hold onto us. Being honest about the joys. Delighting in the wonder of this world.
A life lived in these two states will walk well with the tension of pain and sorrow, joy and wonder. That’s where the nuances come in. There are very few black and whites in the circumstances of our lives, we might look at each others lives and decide we know how each other should be reacting to our circumstances but we need to take the time to understand, dwell in each others lands and live out the nuances together.
Where do you need to live with the nuances of life?
How can we help each other live and walk in the inbetween lands of being real about the struggles and honestly calling out to our maker in the midst of them?
How can we understand each others circumstances without deciding how we think they should be responding to them?