Some things in life are black and white. But many things are some shade of gray. And much freedom and joy is found in appreciating the various shades of gray throughout our life and relationships.
Life does consist of many clear distinctions with no middle ground.
For example, generally speaking a person is either genetically male or female, married or not, infected or not infected with a particular disease. And a historical event either took place or it didn’t, a crime was committed or it wasn’t, and water is wet or it’s not.
But often life cannot be so simplified and a greater appreciation of complexity is needed. And this is especially true in our relationships.
The human soul is deep and we miss our fullness when we try to reduce it to merely black and white distinctions.
Learning to value the gray allows for richer and more nuanced interpretations.
For instance, while the accuracy of an event is black or white, its interpretation is usually gray. This is why our wife’s interpretation of an event can differ so drastically from our own.
And debating the black and white facts only gets us so far. Entering the gray allows for multiple interpretations that are neither right nor wrong but simply different.
And even these different interpretations might have dynamic degrees. This is why surveys ask us to scale our answers. Rarely are things always or never.
A meal might not be our favorite but it doesn’t mean that we hate it. And there’s much grace in knowing that it falls in the land of gray.
We miss the rich complexities of ourselves and each other without gray’s beauty.
Respect what is black and white and learn to enjoy the many shades of gray as well.