Two Sides to Every Story

You may think you are seeing clearly.

The same details suggest one story while you could read them the total opposite way. Last night, I saw the movie version of the incredible book, The Reluctant Fundamentalist

I love when a good movie is faithful to its good-book roots. I love the telling of story, the weaving of plot and character and setting into a complex web of arc that carries you along like a riverboat. I love when a story – any story – makes you think about your own life, your own values, what you stand for.

And really, this was a movie about standing for something. 

We move in and out of our days so often unable to see a bigger picture. We think we are in charge. We think we have control.

We whine, we moan, we complain, we criticize, we feel insecure, we feel hurt, and yet the clouds move gloriously above our homes and offices without any help from us. They are big and fluffy and made scientifically in ways that we really don’t quite understand and they either coat us in shadow or leave us open to the possibility of blue sky and bright sun and we have absolutely nothing to do with it.

In a country like ours, it’s easy to get comfortable.

We don’t have to fight for our survival, at least not most of us. We have so many choices, so many rights, so many options. We don’t have to think about the story behind the story. We don’t have to consider that our country may not always do the right thing.

We are patriotic blindly.

If you stand for something, you won’t let it slide when you’re surrounded by wrong.

A month or so ago, my eldest son decided he didn’t like the treatment the fifth-graders were receiving from the lunch aides. So he staged a silent protest, and invited his friends to join in.

Rather than obey what the lunch aides said, the protesters stood by the fence, didn’t utter a word, but also did not do what the aides demanded. It was a peaceful protest, and the kids got sent to the principal.

The principal knows my son and dealt with him accordingly. There were “bad kids” in the group, and he dealt with them as they warranted. The other kids who lumped in, got lumped in to the dealings.

And my son had to handle the fallout of what he initiated.

He got people to think. He got people to stand up for their rights, to demand better treatment. And some kids got in trouble for it.

It’s a responsibility to be a voice for change. 

In a world of power and control and one step away from chaos, I applaud the people who stand for something, who won’t be swayed by the crowd or go along like a sheep with what everyone else is doing.

I applaud the person who listens to both sides of the story. For there are at least two, if not more. 

It is rarely what we think it is. There are so many ways to read a minute.

I used to write about what I stood for. Then I had kids, and my cause became championing children. I used to feel the injustices of the world so deeply, as if an arrow piercing my skin.

It would serve us all well if we could get out of our comfort zones for a minute or a day or a week or a lifetime and feel what someone else feels. It would be great if we stood for more than bigger houses and better cars. It would be sublime if we felt the plight of the other was ours, too, that we might be one step away from devastation. How would you live if that were the case?

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