Every once in a while I will come up with a strange idea for something to write, and then muse over the material and the connections that I would wish to make, in order to determine if it is a worthwhile project to persue, given the amount of time and effort and the likely result of the material. For example, I pondered the relationship between a monarch who is strongly implicated in the death of his brother (there are more than one of them currently reigning) and of a slightly loud-mouthed blogger with some baggage. When people interact with each other and with their networks of friends and relatives and clients and supporters and neighbors and acquiantances, then there are often complications. My life, particularly my recent life, has prompted me to pay more attention to these matters, even if one cannot predict them ahead of time, simply to be aware of the dangers.
There comes a point in life where one realizes that there is a lot going on outside of ourselves that we had no part in nor any responsibility in except for dealing with the repercussions and the aftermath. While this does not free one of all concerns about dealing with matters (in fact, it often increases the complications of what we have to do), it does free us from illusions about our responsibility for a situation while giving us other responsibilities of what we want to do with it. There is so much in this world that is broken that we cannot live life under the mistaken belief that everything is our fault or that we are responsible for fixing what is broken, given that even our own personal wholeness is often a matter that requires divine intervention, even apart from the larger problems in our families, our institutions, and our societies.
We all have stories that strangers can scarcely even imagine. What I have found is that our stories often interact in ways that are impossible to predict and that make all of our lives far more complicated. I have found, for example, that a great deal of my conflicts and difficulties result from the fact that I have made choices on how to live in a particular way and others have made different choices, and the interaction of those choices has led to conflict in the absence of open communication and some level of trust. Given that I am a person of sometimes uncomfortable openness and a strong tendency to prefer wrestling with issues and seeking to resolve them, even in the face of conflict, I am aware that my own strong and natural tendencies will create tensions with others who have often confused my willingness to deal with disagreement and prefer it to be open rather than secret with a lack of compassion or peacefulness.
I am not alone in these difficulties, though. Every choice we make on how to live our lives means that we are going to have certain people who behave differently than we do. These differences need not lead to hostility or disagreement, so long as there is a mutual respect and an understanding that different people have different personalities, have different backgrounds and temperaments, and different strengths and weaknesses. So long as we have an understanding and loving and respectful view of others, most of these sorts of minor differences need not lead to any kind of conflict. Of course, having the proper love and respect and understanding of others is not a simple task in all situations, but simply because it is difficult does not make it any less vital for us to do our part in making no unnecessary enemies and in creating no unnecessary drama. There are enough necessary problems and difficulties in our lives without us adding to our troubles.
All too often difficulties between people come because people take on symbolic meaning that they are unaware of and often do not deserve. For example, when dynasties and regimes are crumbling, often the last generation of leaders will be honest and somewhat cautious reformers seeking to preserve a system while providing necessary change, only to be swept aside by violent and hostile reaction that holds those people responsible for the sins of previous rulers, responding to injustices suffered with further injustices inflicted against others. Sometimes the people who have to bear the symbolic identification have no knowledge or even any connection to the original meaning, except for being in the wrong place at the wrong time and sharing some superficial similarity with painful memories of past suffering.
Sometimes, though, things work out right for strangers in the night. Despite our loneliness and baggage, and the uncertainty and awkwardness that results when two people meet, sometimes things work out in the end. When two decent people act decently, take the time to build up friendship and trust, and have patience to let God work things out according to His will, then whatever happens will be the best possible outcome in the long run. It is not an easy thing to be patient, to keep our faith and hope when something looks grim and unpleasant, but as long as we persist in doing what is right not only for ourselves but for others, then we allow God to work out His will through our decency and godly conduct, setting an example of faith in difficulty, to be rewarded in the manner of His choosing. Whatever happens after that, we can enjoy the fruits of doing things the right way, building our lives on a strong foundation of faith and obedience, allowing ourselves to overcome the troubles of our own pasts, and moving on to a brighter future as we prepare for the world to come.