This morning was a typical morning at the Heyduck Hacienda.
I worked, as I usually do, to prepare Rachel’s breakfast and my own. Rachel packed her lucnh, tended Eliza, and a couple other things.
As I pulled the Fiber One and Kashi Go-Lean Crunch! from the pantry shelf, I noticed the Cheerios container wasn’t there. I asked, “Where are the Cheerios?”
Rachel replied, as I turned to notice anyway, that she had put them on the counter. I said, ‘Oh, great, thank you,” and went on with my singular task.
Rachel graciously pointed out that she had reached past me to get the Cheerios AND to place the container on the counter. Next to me. I, apparently, hadn’t noticed. My beloved wife chuckled a little at me.
I pointed out that I was so focus like-a-laser on the task before me that I had shut out the world around me to accomplish the task.
Rachel still thinks I am sometimes oblivious to everything going on around me.
While I have a feeling there is some sort of gender-brain-wiring thing going on here, my point for this post is the very different flavors of characterization going on. After all, “focused like a laser” sounds much better than “oblivious to the world aruond me,” doesn’t it?
Sometimes we get to choose the words and phrases that describe who we are and what we do. Sometimes we don’t.
Sometimes even IF we describe ourselves or our actions one way, this deson’t mean others buy our description. For instance, besides my breakfast-preparation example, is it the same thing to be pro-life as to be anti-abortion? Is it pro-choice the same as being anti-life?
I choose the abortion issue specifically because it is one where, at least in the US, those with opposing viewpoints are least likely to accept the terminology of the other.
While Rachel and I can, and will continue to, chuckle over our variations in characterizations, we have a basis of trust and communication which allows us to accept each other’s descriptions or choice of words at least to have a conversation about events and understandings. A book I read quite some time ago (and reviewed for the Journal of Church and State), The Politics of Virtue, points out how, before Roe v. Wade, opponents over the abortion issue were able to work together on some common understandings.
It is my prayer this Advent season, that those on various sides of the abortion issue will do so as well. Are you willing to accept the terminology of the other at least for the sake of starting a conversation?