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I apologize for being a day late with my Reflections. Last Friday I shared that I was writing from jury duty but did not mention my selection for a civil trial which lasted five days.
There were two defendants—the plaintiff’s attorney had been named a co-defendant by the first defendant—and we the jury found both defendants negligent in the matter before the court, though to very different extents.
When the judge came into the Jury Room yesterday, after thanking us for our service, she discussed her views on the proceedings. What struck me as most interesting was her assertion: “You are each correct in your interpretation of the facts.”
Regardless of the law on the subject, governing practices notwithstanding, we are each correct in our interpretation of the facts. Even when we disagree.
Her words echoed in my mind last night as I convened in a very different room full of people with varying opinions about me. Some stories they had heard over the past few years were downright false, slanderous even. Other evidence, given out of context and with extreme prejudice, was true but misleading. Even eyewitnesses to the truth seemed to find greater comfort in the lies.
“We are each correct in our interpretation of the facts.”
How often does that truism rear its trouble-making head? Because I believe I’m right and you believe you’re right, we find neither need nor room for compromise, each steeped in our own correctness. Wars have been fought and relationships have been severed because we each believe we are correct in our interpretation of the facts.
To be sure, there are areas where compromise is impossible. If he wants children and she does not, the couple cannot split the difference and get a puppy--the Grey's Anatomy season finale was proof enough of that. And if your truth demands a repudiation of mine, then we will be perpetually at odds on that subject.
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But thanks be to God such starkness is seldom necessary in our everyday interactions. I don't have to decide where we eat dinner on every date, and you can let me pick the movie, even if neither of us gets our first choice. In areas where we land on opposite sides--politics, religion, Twilight--we can agree to disagree, focusing instead on points of similarity as we forge ahead in friendship.
And that is the truest blessing of life.
So while in this room last night, I smiled at everyone, disputed no one, and emerged on the other side a stronger, better me. For if I can boldly face someone else's truth, even if that truth deems me everything but a child of God, then there is little I cannot do.
At least according to my interpretation of the facts.