In this season of Lent I'm attempting the UMC's Rethink Church Photo-a-day Challenge where I am posting a photo each day related to a specific word (or words). My hope is in addition to posting the photos on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, I would also try to add them to my blog with a litte explanation behind my thinking.
For the first day, "Who am I?" - I decided to keep it pretty simply. Just start writing out words and phrases that would describe me. What I found interesting about the exercise was a commitment to try and keep it fairly honest - especially with it being Ash Wednesday I didn't want to write only positive things, I felt like some measure of confession and self-reflection was due, but I also refused to write only the negative things (which is where I often go, internally, already). So I found myself pairing off words that describe me, but also speak of contradiction - things like "fearful" and "brave"; "healing" and "hurting"; "myself" and "fake".
We all have these contradictions, we all live in the grey in-between area of vice and virtue, between saint and sinner, but all too often, I suspect, we gravitate towards the easy labels. We force ourselves to choose one or the other. Especially when it comes to other people - we tend to judge them in very black-and-white ways, forgetting that we are all multifaceted beings.
What would it mean if we were to finally come to peace with our contradictions, to laugh at our imperfections and see the amazing complexity in all those people around us?
Hopefully that will be one of my aims this Lent.