Midpoint Musings

Midpoint Musings

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Midwinter: Part II

I recall that "spring" arrived three days ago, even though it's 19 degrees F. in my neighborhood today and was blowing snow when I emerged from church. So it seemed fitting to blog about midwinter: part II. 

A wonderful benefit to this long, cold winter is that my husband and I have had more time for conversation. This winter we have discussed topics ranging from finances and paying high heating bills, to the household function of living with an adult son and three granddaughters, to living out our faith. Yesterday as we discussed the latter, we mused about the importance of moderation.

In our conversation, my husband, Bob, said that if we claim that we want to earnestly seek peace and understanding and some degree of religious unity, we must at some point moderate our thinking and our approach. He confirmed what I have felt so strongly for so long: that conversation and interaction with others helps in our understanding and our finding commonality. He remarked that if we were to sit over coffee with our worst enemy we would find how many things we have in common. Everyone wants to provide for family, everyone wants to be accepted and loved, everyone has past hurts that they carry, everyone has dreams and desires to achieve, and everyone wants to live in peace. 

My husband is a counseling therapist and he often reminds me when we have rough days due to a budding teenager in the house that teens have difficulty predicting outcomes, and that it's important to teach them how to self-monitor their thoughts and actions.

Isn't accomplishing this a sign of maturity? Shouldn't it be a goal to thoughtfully consider our own long-held assumptions, rhetoric, and attitudes toward ourselves and others?

"All things in moderation" is an oft quoted cliche. It is often used in reference to drinking too much or overeating, but I feel strongly that we need to apply it across the board in our lives. We may stand firmly on our convictions; we may have values about which we don't feel we can compromise; but if we do so at the expense of being able to live together in community, or family, or friendship, we are just fooling ourselves.

I would rather have a friend than have made my point. I would rather have a marriage than to have had my way. I would rather honor my mother than live with the emotions of our vastly different opinions. I would rather love my granddaughter than remind her of her shortcomings every time she does something troubling. I would rather worship respectfully than disrupt the worship of my brother or sister in Christ. 

These kinds of things are also values. Seeking moderation is a conviction worth striving for.