Here is something I read on Facebook.
A few years back, I got into a playful argument with my brilliant best friend, the artist, when she insisted that, of all the stunning colors in God’s green earth, grey was her favorite.
“Grey??!” I repeated in bewildered incredulity. “Who picks grey when there’s cerulean and crimson or indigo to choose from?!”
I had stumbled upon something much deeper than a color preference. The fact is that I wanted her to pick something bold and to fully commit to it with reckless abandon. In a black and white world, I wanted her to pick a side and own it.
I wanted her to be like me.
But as all my truest friends must be willing to do, she defied my bossy, selfish expectations, and she dug her heels in on grey, a neutral, balanced reasonable color that holds the black and white in tension and brings the best out of all the heavy hitters.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, this holding things in tension business. It’s really hard. Extremes and in-groups are easier. As humans, we love the illusion of safety presented by boxes. “I’m a Republican, so I vote Trump, think feminism is cancer, support the 2nd amendment, oppose government handouts, and villainize all Libtards as koolaid drinkers whose feelings have eclipsed their brains.” Or “I’m a Democrat who thinks Trump should be impeached, climate change is going to destroy the universe in the next decade, capitalism is Satan, healthcare should be free for all, and feelings define your gender.”
But what if the boxes don’t fit? What if you can’t honestly march in lockstep with the pre-approved talking points of your obvious in-group? What if you’re a Republican who thinks racism is still a major issue? What if you’re a Christian who thinks the church at large has a misogyny problem? What if you’re a Democrat who believes in the material reality of biological sex? What if you’re an atheist who thinks religious freedom is super important?
I’ve spent the better part of the last few years observing, living, and grieving the consequences of choosing to color outside the lines, of choosing to color in grey. I’ve seen my feminist friends be fired from their jobs for saying men can’t be women. I’ve seen my conservative Christian female heroes called whores and heretics for questioning Trump. I’ve seen people who once thought I was a courageous role model declare themselves my opponents because I can’t, in good conscience, support their crusade against feminism. The price for dissenting is high, and the road there is lonely.
But as we move into Christmas, I’m struck by the realization that grey is where Jesus was born and where He lived, too. And it was so wildly unpopular, it cost Him His life. He performed miracles on the Sabbath. He ate dinner with tax collectors. He gave women voices and platforms. He showed mercy to prostitutes and anger to priests. He threw over tables in the temple. He colored outside the lines that were alienating people from God and from each other.
Jesus bridged the gap between King and carpenter, slave and free, saint and sinner, death and life. And, by the greatest sacrifice the world will ever know, He stretched out His loving arms in the shape of a cross that bridged the gap between heaven and hell for all of humanity. He didn’t color in black or white or even grey. He colored in glory.
A thrill of hope. The weary world rejoices.