Sometimes murkiness is good.
My new netflix addiction is “Madam Secretary” about an ex-CIA woman who becomes Secretary of State. While I can’t agree with all of its foreign policy stances or portrayals, I find it fun to watch.
In Episode 10 (S1), Madam Secretary tells her 20-year-old daughter a terrible story of how she allowed someone to be tortured when she was CIA. The young woman responds by judging her mom and as she takes her suitcase to the door to leave the family house, Madam Secretary says to her,
“If you never listen to anything I say again for the rest of your life, please hear this.
Everything is more complicated than what you think it is right now.
And the only way you come to know that is through experience.
And that is what this whole process of growing up is all about.”
As I listened, I pictured my young, idealistic, 20-year-old self, and realized that life is so different than I thought it was then.
I had rigid black-and-white boxes by which I defined everything. . .
Success, Happiness, Christianity, Womanhood, Manhood, Relationships. . . You name it, and I had specific boxes for its definition when I was a 20-year old.
Those boxes made me feel safe, protected, secure. . .
But as I grew up, my experience shows me those boxes didn’t work. The clarity of defined boxes could not hold the new information. It was so much more complicated.
The murkiness took me way out of my comfort zone. I could no longer easily judge everything (and everyone) with clarity. It’s murky.
And I’m so glad it is. I thank God for the murkiness as I continue to grow up all the time. It’s not easy, it’s not smooth, but it’s good. And sometimes the murkiness clears and I can see a continuum rather than two boxes.
I can participate in a conversation rather than a snap judgment, and this isn’t only with others, but with myself and the choices placed before me.
It’s so, so good for boxes to be crushed so that we can be the people God has created us to be in all our uniqueness, as we bow low before the cross that redeems us. Some boxes are good ones, and some aren’t. . . murkiness helps us figure that out.
Murkiness is part of maturation, and there’s always some murkiness on this side of eternity.