beyond sides of a story

Our temptation is, of course, to listen for the evidence and decide which side of the story we will choose to stand on. And our temptation then is, of course, to fight for where we have chosen to stand. And our temptation then is, of course, to stop listening because when fighting for the side of the story we have chosen, we fight with all our might because it has become the ground on which we are now standing.

But what happens if we consider moving beyond sides of a story? What if we have been fighting for the either or for the or when it was never an either or to begin with? What if our need for choosing sides comes more from a need to stop listening, because listening is harder than fighting. Persisting in curiosity is harder than moving into superiority.

I know when I speak, I am telling what I’ve seen. What I’ve smelled. What I’ve felt.

And when they speak, they are telling what they’ve seen. What they’ve smelled. What they’ve felt.

And if we experienced the crash of the story me from one bank, and them from the other, we may both tell the truth, and still tell a different story.

So is there a way to listen widely, getting so many sides of the story that we move beyond sides all together and rather begin to experience the fulness of the story we know we exist anyway? A fullness that breeds humility and compassion and generosity because we continue to listen and therefore take on the fulness and complexity of the story itself rather than landing on a side and being forced to start a fight.

It is, of course, the work of being a peacemaker. And the peacemakers are, of course, the children of God.

Pine Tree

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7 thoughts on “beyond sides of a story

  1. I like your suggestion that there is “a way to listen widely,” the way of peacemaking, the way of children of God.

    • Most Hopeful says:

      Thanks, Mark. It feels harder to listen widely, and it feels like it’s not usually honored…especially among church settings, but there are those peacemakers in churches everywhere, in bodies of believers everywhere, who I think are listening widely and others are finally feeling heard, thank God.

  2. ashleigh says:

    i don’t have anything to add to this conversation, except to say thanks for putting this into words. this is something i need to mull over, pray over, live a little better.

    can i tell you how much i love this blog? a whole stinking bunch. really grateful that you are willing to share your journey.

    • Most Hopeful says:

      Ashleigh! I’m honored that you’re reading. I saw pictures of you in a play the other day on facebook, and it made me remember how we couldn’t stop laughing one night during rehearsal with Eve. Hilarious. Thanks for joining me on this journey. I’m terrified to think back to all I probably thought I knew for sure those days, so it’s comforting now to get to do my best in being up front about what I’m learning I was all wrong about. Keep me posted on what you’re learning as well.

  3. Johanna says:


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