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  • Writer's pictureSam

Shades of White

I used to work for a commercial painting company. We did houses but we also did large commercial projects like big-box stores, grocery stores, and apartment complexes. We bought a lot of paint.

One thing I learned is that "white" is actually many colors--for example, Sherwin-Williams lists at least 48 colors of white in its catalog. White is not one thing...not in paint, not is "real life."

We live in a society that is becoming increasingly, and troublingly, binary. Good guys in hats that are very white and bad guys in hats that are very black. We see this in relationships, too. The search for the "bad guy" (or woman) who did the "bad thing." We look to identify this person (movement, idea, event) so we can put on our gleaming angel garment (complete with halo) and attach blame. As Brene Brown has noted (can't do a blog anymore without quote Brene Brown), attaching blame is simply a way of discharging pain. It's too simple to be useful in the long run.

So, next time you are tempted, as we all are--it's that human nature thing--to detach from pain by attaching blame, and to wrap ourselves in the whitest white we can find, try to get a grip and realize that--in the end--life is not that simple, we are not that simple, and the other person is not that simple. We all exhibit shades of white (and black) in everything we do or say.

Be gentle, assume the best about the other person, listen before you speak, try to understand before you judge, and--as Jesus said, "take the plank out of your own eye before you try to remove the speck from that of your brother, friend, partner, or--even--enemy."

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