Wednesday, January 4, 2017

A Quacky Paradox

Hey all, I just finished the first full day of training at Mission Training International in Colorado where I'll be for the next month. This morning we started working on phonetics and learning how to recognize certain sounds in English (later this week we'll start learning non-English sounds), all with the use of a pocket mirror to make sure we formed the sounds correctly. At this point, I wish I was a speech therapist so that it would all make a little more sense!

One of this afternoon's sessions really spoke to me. Our instructor brought up two rubber duckies; one is "Yay Duck" and the other is "Yuck Duck."

These two stand for the things we think and say that are either positive/optimistic/happy or negative/pessimistic/down.

The instructor held the ducks in his hand, then asked us, "What do you get when you have two ducks?"

Wait for it....

a paradox.

*Cue groaning*

The instructor went on to say that a paradox is an apparently self-contradictory statement that is still true. Both are valid, and both of these thoughts can live in the same heart, at the same time, about the same issue.

Process this with me for a minute:

1) How would you respond to someone that says, "It's SOOOO hot here!"

Would you respond with something like "Yes, but just wait until August!" or "Yeah, but at least we have air conditioning?"

Try this one:

2) What if someone says, "I'm so excited about the snow!"

Would you respond, "Just wait until it all melts and gets nasty" or "It's not as fluffy as the snow we have at my home?"

If you thought of those kinds of responses, you're like most people. Congratulations. But now think about how you'd feel if someone says those kinds of things to you. That doesn't feel so good, does it?

Why do we feel like if someone presents us with a "Yay Duck" we have to respond with a "Yuck Duck" to bring them back down to earth? Or why do we feel like we have to remind people of the bright side when they're voicing more negative feelings?

How about this:
"It's SOOO hot here!"
"You're right! What's the weather like where you are?" or even "It sure is. How does the heat affect you?"

Those kinds of responses validate the person's feelings, tell them it's OK to feel and process that emotion, and invites more discussion on the same side of the issue. You're at least trying to stay on the same side of the issue long enough to understand them.

What if I tried to help that person stay in paradox and be able to stay on both sides of the issue at the same time? What if I learned to miss places I've lived at the same time being glad I'm not there anymore? What if I was able to express how hard a transition is while still reminding myself of God's faithfulness?

What if I live in paradox right now? And what if you--my friends, my family, my coworkers, my Facebook friends, and my supporters--helped remind me that it's OK.

(As always, I invite you to comment below and engage with me on any of the topics I write about)

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