Has the world been pulled over your eyes?
Morpheus to Neo: “This is your last chance. After this there is no turning back. If you take the blue pill the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe…whatever you want to. If you take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes…” The Matrix
A friend of ours was over visiting my wife last week and her little daughter leaned over to her and said “Mommy, I love you!”. It was cute because she said it louder than she needed to because she was wearing earphones and watching something on an iPad. I piped up “Do you love me too?”. She favoured me with a somewhat-alarmed-look, leaned over to her mom and in a whisper that was too loud said “Mommy, he’s kinda different!”
Fair enough. How many “normal” pastor’s kids do you know?
I grew up seeing the world differently. Now I didn’t just grow up in church, I grew up in church leadership and have never really known anything else. I’ve watched families making decisions my entire life and been privy to the hardships and breakdown that happen all around us, but more by association than my parents actually talking to me about it.
I see the church as an organism more than an organization and that seems weird to a lot of people. Some say I’m not fussy about some issues the way I should be (or more accurately the issues they happen to be fussy about), and others would wonder why I’m so incredibly deliberate and intentional about things that don’t seem all that important to them right now.
The reason I’m a little “different” is that I couldn’t help but notice patterns over the years of being involved with families. Now I’m sure there are people trained in these sorts of things that understand them far better than I do, but I do have a poor man’s revelation at times. One thing I’m fairly good at is looking at a person/family’s decision making in the past and present and projecting it into the future.
In North America we have this terrific understanding of individuality. We also have its evil twin which looks like a terrific blindness to recognizing patterns in our own lives. I’ll save the “HOW DARE YOU!!!” and ask how often you rely on talent, diplomacy, your natural salesmanship, your boss’s forgiveness, your wife’s ignorance, your anger, your blaming others etc etc etc to get you out of a hole you’ve dug for yourself? If we were half as self-aware or honest as we say we are we’d be able to have a real conversation about it, but we aren’t so it won’t really matter and you can go back to being mad at me.
We distract ourselves.
And somehow think we’re off the hook, at least for the next week or so. Just keep the madness at bay and I’m sure life will sort itself out and everything will turn out fine and we’ll be able to eat chips all day and never get fat. (I love chips and would eat them all day and get fat if Erin would let me).
So I watch families make decisions. It’s funny that this little track record I keep in my head of THAT sort of decision making and it’s actual result ten and twenty years down the road keeps replaying itself when I see the younger version of a family that struggles with ______ making the same types of decisions. I can warn the younger version what’s coming down the pipe but they rarely care. Why? Why on earth wouldn’t you take any advice you could from someone who has observed this sort of thing over and over?
Again I’m not an expert but sometimes that helps. One of the things I’m really good at is asking questions of people who are smarter than I am, or at least have experienced a stage of life/ family dynamic that I haven’t yet. Ironically I often appear smarter than I am, but that’s kinda smart too:)
If I insist on learning everything on my own then pain becomes my (only) teacher. Some people learn from pain but smart people actually learn from other people’s pain.
It is inherently arrogant to think that we will be the exception to the rule, but we do it all the time. I could tell you that a hundred families that have made THAT decision have always had THE SAME RESULT (with minor variations) and you would probably set out to “prove me wrong” and act out what you never wanted to act out. Why?
And why do I do it too? That’s the real question…
There is something inside of us that wants to take the Blue Pill and wake up in our beds and believe whatever we want to. The Red Pill tastes like this:
“I shouldn’t have bought that…” Red Pill
“I shouldn’t have done that with her….” Red Pill
“Maybe we’d still be together if I would have ______ and not _____….” Red Pill
“I wish I’d have spent more time with that group of people and not THAT group of people. My life wouldn’t look like it does right now…” Red Pill
“I wish I’d have asked some eternal questions about the God who loves me twenty years ago…” Red Pill
Taking the Red Pill is like Neo waking up in the harsh light of reality in The Matrix. He realizes a terrifying truth that the world is not what it seems; that the world had in fact been pulled over his eyes. Dead end job. Entertainment. Relationships. Distractions. If the truth is as bad as all that maybe waking up in your bed the next morning and believing whatever you want to isn’t so bad?
The sad thing is that it also isn’t real. So who cares how easy it was?
In 2 Corinthians 5 Paul the Apostle makes us swallow a Red Pill. He takes the veil away from a reality I think we have always known existed but maybe didn’t have the courage to really look into, or it could be that we just didn’t know where to start looking?
This world and our physical lives here are a blip on the radar of the eternity we were created for. The decisions made here affect the rest and so it makes this brief span of whatever years we have been granted terrifyingly important. The reality is, however, that we would rather not think about it and pull the world over our eyes. Why?
We eat the candy of distraction and comfort and don’t have the stomach for real food.
I think it’s because we’re lazy with the wrong things?