The Rest of the Story
I grew up hearing Paul Harvey’s “The Rest of the Story“. (yes, I am that old) Even as a child I wanted to know the rest of the story. Sometimes it was a quaint anecdote to history and other times it was a few facts that really changed the perspective. I do not remember any specific “Rest of the Story” commentaries from Paul Harvey but I do remember a valuable lesson his radio broadcast planted in my being…there is always more to the story.
Fast forward to the here and now and the phrase comes from husband in much the same tone as Mr. Harvey, “There are three sides to every story, yours, mine and the truth.” This is not a matter of telling lies. (OK with some people it is.) This is the fact of our perspectives. How do we process what we see and experience determines our “truth” in a situation. Our education and knowledge can color this perspective as well.
Houston We Have a Problem
What’s my point? In the last few days since Hurricane Harvey impacted the Gulf Coast, Mega Church Pastor Joel Osteen has been under fire for his church not being opened. We can spend hours, weeks, days debating and pointing fingers but here is the thing…we don’t know the story. First there is a knowledge issue. In order to open your doors as a shelter you must have a plan in place. You need medical supplies, food, water and staff. It’s a great deal more than just a non-flooded building without a leaking roof. The other issue is access. I know nothing about the Houston area, but perhaps logistically it was not feasible for real emergency services (local, FEMA etc.). Don’t misunderstand me. I am not defending the man. I have no ties to him. I have never read one of his books and I have only watched a small part of one of his services. That’s not bashing him or supporting him. I’m simply saying…there is a rest of the story here as well. Just because you are a large church does not mean you are prepared for disaster. My prayers are with the Houston community and all in the impacted area. We will hear all sorts of evaluations and opinions about how the disaster in Texas has been handled, but we will never get the whole story.
Day to Day
I work with 7th and 8th grade girls in our church youth group. If you ever want to see the dynamic of how perspective, miscommunication and emotion cloud reality…work with middle school girls. This is an amazing age to work with because they are cultivating thought patterns they will use for life. They are beginning to carve out the identity of who they are as individuals. They are changing emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually. It is a CHALLENGE.
Often one of our team has to walk through a situation with one of these young women and help them see the bigger picture. We all remember thinking our parents were being mean or did not trust us, things have not changed. These girls have to be reminded that their parents have their best interest at heart. Sometimes that means taking them by the hand and making them look at things from another perspective. They need the rest of the story. Likewise, sometimes we have to learn to look through the eyes of a teen. If we all learn to step back and evaluate things from other perspectives, we might find ourselves complaining a little less.
How Much Story Do We Need?
My husband prefers to ask a question and get a yes or no answer. He is very direct in that manner. I prefer to get the answer and then dig for the why. When you ask why or how, prepare yourself for a journey. You get names, emotions, excuses and all sorts of other information. If you are patient enough to listen and sift through the mountain of data, you learn a great deal about perspective and priorities. Once you tap into these you can better deal with a situation.
Pointing fingers, complaining, and getting offended solve NOTHING. In fact it generally creates more problems which lead to heightened confusion. I don’t know about you, but I don’t need more chaos in my life. We could all learn something from Mr. Paul Harvey…let’s get the rest of the story.