As a teenager, much of my conversation with my mom happened over a sinkful of dishes. I was the fifth and final child, lagging five years behind the fourth. One night we were in a heated discussion. I don’t remember the topic, and it’s irrelevant. I do believe we were in agreement on some issue I saw as cut-n-dry, black or white. My mom concluded with this, “when you’re young, you think you see everything so clearly, that the world is black and white, right and wrong. As you age, you realize there’s only gray”. Hmmph, no, I was right. Period.
Then, in my mid twenties, my hair began to gray. I married into a family equally as opinionated (and willing to share those opinions) as my own. I had three jobs in very different environments with very different types of people. These people came from very different sorts of families than mine and my friends’. They thought differently than I did. And there was logic in what they said, too.
Now, I wasn’t so sure that I was always right. I moved into a neighborhood and my new neighbors were Muslim. John became close to Jewish people at work. I had never really questioned too much about my religion. It was easier to surround myself with like-believers. But, I realized that we all believed in the same God. Ok, the Jesus part and the Mohammed part get a little messy, but the God the father part is the same. I had been so right. Now, it didn’t seem to matter so much what church a person attended. Each church had so much in common. All the black and white was blending.
I thought there was a right way to have a baby, feed a baby, raise a baby. Seriously? There are so many variations…and in the end, dang it, those kids can all think for themselves!
I thought if I was basically good, (Ok, I have a short fuse and a handful or two of other less than perfect traits)that I would live a long and healthy life. That could still happen. But, I have a stage four cancer in the shadows lurking. I thought if I stopped eating meat that my body would be healthier. But, look at Steven Jobs. Dang, vegetarians can die of cancer, too!
I recently went into Sherwin-Williams for paint samples. I looked at the whites. There are so many!!! And the blacks? Yep, a boatload of them, too. So, of course, there are even more shades of gray. Mom was right.