Things are always more complicated than they seem

The first time I was in a real wrestling match was in the 7th grade. I wasn’t involved yet, but friends of mine were. I watched the wrestlers toss each other around (junior high wrestling can look pretty clumsy), and most of them won because their opponents fell down and they jumped on top of them. The next year I saw a high school match, and it was much more complicated and skillful. I joined the team the next year (I was in the 9th grade) and have never stopped wrestling. I still work out with the local high school team a couple of times a week. It helps me and I think (I hope) it helps them. I am known as the picky coach – the one who analyzes and picks apart their moves. I have them move their foot 3 inches this way or place their hand there on the arm instead of here. Wrestling, like most sports, is about tactics and inches as much as it is about speed and strength. It’s more complicated than it seems.

Life is that way too. Crafting a letter – fixing a pipe – riding a bicycle; so many things in life that might come easy to us or seem straightforward can be extremely complicated to others. I’ve seen too many people chastise someone for not being able to do something that they think is easy. People are complicated too. Not all of us had the same advantages that others did; not all of us learn the same way. And most of us have done things in the past that we regret. If we are aware enough, we have worked to make those mistakes right. If we aren’t willing to admit that we are flawed, we haven’t. Those who don’t remember where they came from will never understand why some folks struggle. Our lives are always more complicated than they seem.

No issue is simple. No person is one-dimensional. Things are always more complicated than they seem, and we need to recognize this reality. This is why clickbait is so dangerous; it gives us a snippet that is almost always misleading or a straight-out lie. It isn’t about a simple truth or an in-depth analysis; it is about selling ads and making money. That may be the least complicated thing of all. When in doubt, follow the money. As for the rest of life, I think it would be good to take a moment before making a judgment. You and I don’t know what people have been through and they don’t know our whole life story. Better to wait and listen rather than jump to conclusions. Things are always more complicated than they seem. That’s why it’s called giving the benefit of a doubt. We could all use a little more grace in our lives. And we would all do well to give a little more grace to others.

Prayer – We admit to our imperfections, God of good (but not perfect) creation. Remind us to remember that others are the same. Amen.

Today’s art is called “atelophobia – the fear of imperfection.” The artist is Daliah L. Ammar.