Monday, February 13, 2012

Guilty Confession Part Two, or Another Crunchy Gravel Show

I believe in my last post, I made a confession of enjoying a Masterpiece Theater program  soap opera. (They changed their name to Masterpiece Classic, but's my blog.) This week's confession is going to get a little thicker. I check the Masterpiece website, and, oh my gosh, I'm sharing this in a teeny tiny whisper; I vote for characters I love and loathe. What's more, I check the chart to see how other people are voting. I am sucked into Downton Abbey.
Tonight, I changed my mind about a few characters. Some went down in my estimation while others went up. I'm watching lives unfold, and seeing some characters make bad choices, or be misunderstood, or maligned even, and how it all shakes out. I find it interesting how each week, the chart shifts with the storyline. And, when I see a particularly loathsome character display a change in character, I wonder, can a leopard change its spots? Or, more importantly, the character who has been misunderstood has new light shed upon him or her which paints a much different picture. Or, the character who has been strong and honorable suddenly falls off his proverbial white stallion.
And a thought occurred to me. Maybe it's not  earth shaking to you, but for me, very. If we could view people in the fulness of time, what would we see? Would we have more grace with someone if we knew that one day, they would display better behavior? Would we be more accepting of people if we knew that we didn't know the whole story?
I'm sure some of my friends already live this way. I'm sure most people are not half as judgmental as me. And I don't believe in throwing judgment out entirely. I'm kind of a realist. You know, as George Bush said, "There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. (awkward pause.) Fool me — you can't get fooled again." —Nashville, Tenn., Sept. 17, 2002.  Well, actually, it's "fool me twice, shame on me." I fully believe in the balance between self preservation which comes from discernment which has a flavor of judgment. But, I also wonder what it would look like if I treated people like the characters on Downton Abbey. Maybe today someone appears super dastardly, and so it is. But what if I leave room for interpretation and depth of character? 
It is a balance between discernment and grace. I love being able to see the characters develop in the series, and being privy to information before them, and seeing how they'll receive the information. One writer says "they are always looking to do the right thing." I don't agree with that entirely, but where it is true, it is interesting. It has helped me gain perspective I wouldn't necessarily have.
It is ironic, the two favorite characters on the series are completely opposite. One is loved for her outspokenness and wit, while the other is loved for her discretion and kindness. Guess who I am like and who I wish to be like.....
Humans are complicated. Some more than others. I'm sure over time, we all rise and fall in people's estimation. But, at the end of the day, the ensemble of us living and being together is a Masterpiece as well, and we're all capable of doing the right thing, whatever that may be.

*Crunchy Gravel credit to Lisa De Moreas, Washington Post