Redemption becomes the ultimate success. I have found myself in the company of many people, who tend to know drastically more about things than I do. I know a Rocket Scientist, an extremely well educated and knowledable Meteorologist (and brewmeister), A sports information specialist, A restaurant owner, an investment specialist that overseas an entire state, Chairman of a board at a bank, several lawyers, a couple of doctors...you know, lots of people that know lots of stuff. I suppose I can ride along with my industry knowledge of financial and check fraud...but I'd rather not.
I've noticed we sometimes have to define the positive through the negative. Instead of celebrating what has happened, we tend to celebrate what has not happened. This excites my curiosity. Why do we do this?
It's like we seek perfection by scrutinizing the negative, or lack thereof. This becomes more apparent for me when we talk about the other fields where we are not experts. When we become highly educated in a particular field, it tends to make us a world acclaimed critic of many other fields too.
Plus, The Internets makes us all experts at all things instantaneously anyway.
Where does redemption come in, you might ask?
I like redemptive stories. I feed off of them. If we are all experts at everything, there's nothing to redeem, nobody can be wrong, we're all "right". I can tell you now...when everybody's right and we all know everything, something's wrong.
Redemptive stories that affect the soul, focus on loss prior to win...Imperfection. It is necessary. No instant expert, nobody's 100% right all the time. Look at it this way...I'm not familiar with any awesome stories where the children or parents have all they need and an abundance of love, and a grounded attitude of love towards others and then something awesome happens. That would be a foreign story wouldn't it (not to mention boring)?
Doesn't really happen that way, does it? Redemptive stories we like start with loss, or need, or lack, or depravity...
Many times, redemptive stories pertain to the shortcomings of an individual, or a family...and then some mysterious act of revelation, provision, or grace transforms the picture completely. Redemptive stories are a valuable part of our lives, here's a few reasons why:
1. We aren't good people. We try to be (some of us), but in the end, we all look in the mirror and see lack, want, or the need of being a better person, father, mother, business-person, etc. Redemption in the real world provides permission for us to hope. They allow us to dream of a better tomorrow, even though today looks like hell. A better tomorrow, in which, we get to play a part...to belong and contribute.
2. We all lose. Nobody remains undefeated for their lifetime, in the end, we are all worm-food. We connect with people when they lose, often times absorbing the loss into our own sense of personal tragedy...whether it is the loss of a loved one, a failed marriage, failed high school athletic career, or simply being a failed person.
3. We get to see the sun tomorrow. Redemptive stories remind us that the world doesn't have to end as it now seems. We can see the sunrise tomorrow and believe that we can attain to something better...like hope, but more like belief in that hope.
4. We enjoy winning. Deep down inside of the most selfish bastard, remain the seeds of joy excited by seeing a loser become a winner...waiting for the right connection, to relate in someway and be connected, and then succeed. Nobody heckles Special Olympians...people who give their all, and retain a sense of pride and determination regardless of how they appear to be doing... determination we wish we all had...many of our disadvantages are internal and not so visible.
We can once again believe that we are a character in a great adventure, and be important to the completion of the story....if that's a bit cliche for you, then we can once again believe that we don't have to live and die an asshole, but we can find compassion and help others in peril, regardless of how awkward we look in the process. We can search, work, and find around us the stories of people that have suffered, lost, and maybe even don't deserve to win...and yet, the world turns upside down sometimes and victory can be attained.
Reminds me of a saying given to me once, when I was down, out and about ready to check out permanently.
"Hey, cheer up, I skipped to the end of the book...we win!"
Hang in there...remember that every lost ball, wayward tee shot, shanked chip, and horrible round can be redeemed...and we can smile just a bit more today because we know that.