Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Black and White

Photo Credits: 1940's suede shoes by joiedevintage, eyelet lace top by folieAdeuxVintage, alpaca jacket by follettojeremia, oval drop earrings by joieux

“Light is meaningful only in relation to darkness, and truth presupposes error. These mingled opposites people our life... we exist in terms of this conflict, in the zone where black and white clash.” ~ Louis Aragon {edited}

One of the most significant lessons that I have learned entering into my 30's is that, in conflict, it's not just about being right. More often than not, if we have a disagreement with a spouse or a friend, we ponder, we ask, we confer about the notion of who was right and who was wrong. The significance of that vantage point is that right and wrong is rooted in pride. More to the point, the problem with this perspective, as author and counselor Saundra Dickinson wrote is that "we are always making 100% sense, 100% of the time to ourselves." None of us ever live life from someone else's perspective; we only ever live it from our own. The majority of the time, I don't think anyone ever really intends to be mean or cruel, he or she is simply behaving in a way that makes sense from his/her perspective.

For example, let's say a husband and wife are sitting down to dinner. The husband smiles and serves his wife a generous portion first. This habit continues but creates in the wife a slow building sense of resentment towards her husband. Finally, one day, incensed, she speaks to him in spite and in anger and demands he stop serving her.

If we consider this story from the notion of right and wrong, it is readily apparent that the husband is right. He was only treating his wife with kindness, which does not merit her anger. However, the wife was probably not even aware, on a conscious level, the impacts that her personal history still have on her today. As a small child, her father, an abusive man, would serve her adult portions which she was forced to eat or suffer severe physical punishment. For years, her early memories of dinner were leaving the table uncomfortably gorged, tiny belly tight with pain and little cheeks wet with tears.

The husband could choose to press the issue of his behavior as right, perhaps even raising his voice or hurling an insult because he does not deserve her anger. But if that was the only perspective he maintained, he would lose the opportunity to reach out towards his wife in compassion and heal her from a piece of her past. So often we let an injustice or unkindness we have suffered become our ammunition to either retribute or deal with another situation in kind.


I suppose all this lengthy discourse is to say that I want the buck to stop with me. I am not saying we should abandon our rights or allow ourselves to be mistreated--quite the contrary! We should fight to be treated in fairness and especially for the rights to which we are legally entitled. However, I want to choose not to embody the bitterness of indignation, instead to see even my opposer's side in the context of compassion. Even though another person's choice may cause me to suffer, I am going to choose to keep my heart light and my mind open, to believe that mostly people are genuinely good. I will still stand in my own truth, my own rights, but I hope to do so amiably and in the absence of malevolence.

Perhaps a grievance has you down today... cutting words from a critical boss, an insensitive judgment from a friend, intimidation from a corporate lawyer, or simply a cranky curmudgeon at the library checkout table {and, really, who hasn't encountered one of those.} Whatever it is, I hope that you find you can stay the course of joy with an extra measure of strength, an extra measure of empathy, and an extra measure of compassion to boot. At least, these are the things I pray for in my own life.


Oh, and I almost forgot... I have one pair of those little black shoes, size 5 for a steal at only $10. They are an irregular sample, sewn by one of my staff. Additional sizes will be coming soon. And don't forget, there is one more day to enter the giveaway.



**** said...

Amazing! LOVE the black and white - will be stalking for a size 7 :)

- Rachel

Amy said...

It's not personal its business...crazy I know, but its the way people think. I learned that at a young age that heart and business never seem to connect. So opposite of Christ and so not fair sometimes.

And dang in the world did I miss those size 5's? Evy will be there in no time!! xoxo

Hana said...

Dang girl, how do you write so eloquently? This is so true though. Love reading these thoughts of yours...always get me thinking :) Happy Thursday!

Mande said...

Jessica, I am in awe of you. Your strength, your perseverance, your ambition, no matter what life throws at you. Like you I try to give the benefit of the doubt to people, to believe that for the most part people are genuinely good. Praying for you and sending hugs your way.

Those little Damask shoes are so beautiful. Sorry to have missed them. As always cannot wait to see what you create next. xo

Prencie said...

OMG! I've been wanting some black and white damask shoes for a year now....that's how I found you, searching for damask shoes on etsy!!:)

I SOOOOO get this post!!! And credits, cough, cough! Nice selection!!! Your so clever Jessica!! I like your style!!!! On so many levels;)

Still saying a prayer for you and Joyfolie...

Anonymous said...

smile...and have a good day!

Anonymous said...

Your writing is beautiful. Your shoes are beautiful. Your spirit is beautiful, and the people trying to steal it all away are not! So glad you have such a positive, secure outlook on misfortune's tossed your way. Can't wait to buy more shoes, and headbands, and dresses, and .....
~Jen Williams

Dear Lillie said...

This was such a wonderful post, Jessica! And oh my goodness - these are probably my most favorite shoes yet! I LOVE them! I am such a fan of black and white and I love any and all damask prints!

Anonymous said...

Jessica - 2 Corithians chapters 4 & 5 were written for you, treasures in earthen vessels, you are constantly in our prayers. Years ago, when you were very young Gramma & Grandpa helped us finally buy a car. It was white & cute and we loved it. Within days someone rear-ended us and ruined it, it never had a trunk after the accident. The guy responsible had no insurance. He ducked, threatened and cheated, trying every way to get out of the obligation. The Lord told me to pursue him to the limit of the law though I was ready to forgive & forget. It took a long time but he finally accepted what he did and tried to make it right. As soon as he repented the Lord said: "Release him" and I did in the name of Jesus. I know it had an impact on his heart and God was glorified. And even though we drove that bashed up car for years, with the rain filling up the open trunk, that mashed up car was a testimony of who He is and His great power to forgive. We will never truly know the whole story behind what He calls us to do until we are sitting at His feet - I can't wait.

Jennifer said...

Hang in there. You kindness, creativity, integrity and Christlike spririt will be a gift through the generations...your beautiful children are witness to these qualities.

Micah loves Pearl Necklace said...

This was a nice dress, shoes perfect! I love it!

The Asquad said...

This is MY fave!! song!!! You keep on keepin' on!!!


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