I’m Stumped
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I’m Stumped

Mixed Feelings

2020 has been a banner year for strong opinions and the forceful voicing of those opinions. Some stuff that needed to get said got said or is getting said. Some stuff I wish had never been said also got said. And there is a 100% chance all of that will continue. That’s ok. I’ve been part of that. I will be again for sure. Lots of it has been needed and good.

But in the midst of all of that outrage and outcry, I’d like to pause just for a moment and suggest that sometimes…sometimes…it is ok to have mixed feelings.

Mixed feelings in the current hurricane of absolutism can be a dangerous port in this particular storm. To have mixed feelings is to risk meekly contradicting the feelings of another whose feelings may not be mixed at all. That doesn’t always have to lead to conflict but it seems like today that is the likely destination with social media the all-too-willing vessel.

But if you’re human, (and chances are that many of you are), then having and admitting mixed feelings is likely the only path to authenticity. There is a place for conviction and in today’s debates it is needed as much as ever. But there is also a place for honesty and vulnerability even if those things tend to be anathema to Facebook, and that place is shared by mixed feelings.

The protesters are refusing to be silent in the face of injustice….and destroying property in a way that doesn’t always feel connected or helpful.

I am furious about what the police have been doing to black people…and I know police officers who are some of the best people I know.

I have spent a lifetime being inspired by our founding fathers…and I am repulsed by their slave ownership.

I dislike my personal candidate for President personally, but I think his position on ______ is so important.

I am mad…and sad….and tired…and unsure…and ready to fight….and ready to never fight again.

These are less my own feelings than those I sense all around me, but admitting that we do not know, that we are uncertain, that we still hold unpopular beliefs even as we are trying to evolve, that something in our gut is fighting with some new information in our brain, is important. It is important for connection, for peace, for authenticity and maybe even for love.

I’m not suggesting that mixed feelings is the goal or that there is no truth and only sides or advocating for a goldilocks like push to luke warm. And mixed feelings can be a privilege afforded to only a few which is regrettable indeed and needs to be acknowledged by the uber privileged likey myself. I am suggesting, however, that a lot of people have mixed feelings about the world around us and that’s ok. It is ok to admit that you are not totally sure. It doesn’t make you weak, it makes you human and honest. It may not be safe to admit on social media right now, so be careful. And it may not be where you want to stay or end up. But I think we might be better off if our mixed feelings were allowed to come to the surface when we are discussing hard, complex, centuries old problems and challenges. It might allow us to treat ourselves more kindly and maybe even find an unexpected truth in the humanity of another.

That wouldn’t be so bad would it?

I don’t know. I have mixed feelings.

These are my musings on politics, religion, parenting, and the hard work of trying to be a decent human.

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Joshua Stump

I am a Dad, a husband, a son, a brother, a follower of Jesus, a lawyer, a songwriter, and just generally someone with a lot of strong opinions about stuff.