In the past couple months two people I love dearly have made wild, sweeping generalizations or accusations that have nearly put me in a violent state of mind. I won't get into what exactly the statements were, while I was inclined to then, now is not the time for debate. Within this debate, a question offered by the offending party, a reasonable question amidst the myriad of convoluted, un-evidenced, and downright stubborn rationales being defended, has stuck with me:
"Why do you need to change my mind?"
No matter how badly I would like to sit and scour for evidence and craft the perfect argument to bring forth grande epiphanies and be crowned the champion of reason, this question seems more important.
What is it about existence that beckons for us to prove ourselves right?
Could it be our nature? A biological inclination to outwit the competition? Is it an ingrained notion that being seen as right ultimately lends itself to the survival of our clan? What happens when these killer instincts show themselves to our kin and we turn on the ones we're supposed to be protecting?
Or can we point the finger at the nurturing village that raised us? Is it the result of not being acknowledged enough in our most vulnerable moments of development? Is it a reaction to the cruel world of popular kids and teachers who laughed at our best guesses? Or is it simply a moment in time when we need a triumph amidst so many tragedies?
Whatever the answer, or perfect hybrid of answers, the indirect answer to all these inquiries is grace.
This word comes naturally to me because it's in the language I was raised with. If that word is not familiar, let me elaborate. Grace implies mercy, it is a bestowing-upon and giving-away-of without pretense of personal gain. It is altruistic, if we can claim that anything we do is that.
Earlier I was listening to an audio track of a conversation between the members of a band called Between Earth and Sky (http://betweenearthandsky.bandcamp.com/) about their songs. One of the members claimed that no matter how hard we try to impress that what we apply meaning to is important and worthwhile, after the people we know die, none of it will have mattered. Even hundreds of years from now, he said, if somehow our existence extended beyond our grave to influence other generations, time will show that it never mattered. Even figures who have withstood millennia because time will keep moving beyond humanity. A rather bleak mentality, but one that resonates with me.
Why do I need to change your mind? I don't know, I just do. For Justice, For Reason, For Pride. For Sanity. None of which are reason enough to warrant the kind of frustration that bubbles inside.
The grace in this instance that I was unable to conjure would've been to simply say 'thank you for all you do, I love you.'
The same person who inspired this inquiry also once notoriously advised I not "sweat the petty stuff" but "pet the sweaty stuff," know that I'm trying.