To listen to the “truth” … whose truth?



Storytelling is probably the oldest craft alive: the ability to tell stories so others can see a point-of-view and repeat for others to enjoy. Journalism is one facet of storytelling, being able to provide an objective:¬†an un-biased point-of-view of “news” for others to consume.

I have been closely watching the incidents, like the rest of the free world, in Tucson, AZ that began with the shooting of many innocent American’s on January 8th. This story has been the epicenter of local, regional, and national topics from gun control, free-speech, political transparency, and even defining what it means to be American.

As Sarah and I were having lunch, she asked me…”Why do you think so much focus has been on Gabrielle Gifford’s story and not as much on those who have been wounded and died, including the little girl” Well, it is my belief that the story of Congresswoman Gifford is the true pinnacle of this whole incident. As stated by the surgeon’s, this is a case of miracles.

From HuffingtonPost.com article on Friday, January 14, 2010:

It was the first time Giffords had opened her eye since the shooting. Kelly told Giffords to give him a thumbs-up if she could hear him. Instead, she slowly raised her left arm.

“The doctor said this is amazing what she’s doing right now and beyond our greatest hopes,” Gillibrand said.

“It felt like we were watching a miracle,” Wasserman Schultz said. “The strength that you could see flowing out of her, it was like she was trying to will her eyes open.”

On ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Thursday, Gillibrand added, “Everything that we love about Gabby was all there at that moment.”

Kelly told the president and first lady about the development as they drove from the hospital to the University of Arizona’s McKale Center, where Obama would speak at a memorial service. Kelly gave the president permission to tell the crowd about his wife’s progress.

“Gabby opened her eyes,” Obama told the cheering crowd. “So I can tell you: She knows we are here, she knows we love her, and she knows that we are rooting for her through what is undoubtedly going to be a difficult journey.”

This miracle has broken down so many conventions and pre-dispositions, bridging gaps of communities and bringing together an American story right before our eyes.

Yet, there are so many stories that are untold, those left for us to understand. We are still trying to understand why a young man would use a gun to shoot so many a point blank range. In some of the pictures, he looks like just another person, another American, someone that could be buying groceries in the next aisle. We are trying to understand why, understand his fundamental Truth that made him make the decisions he made that day.

We are also trying to understand a small church in Topeka, Kansas and their motives for protesting during funeral services of those who perished during this event. Life Magazine did a photoessay of this group, and if you look at their faces and remove the picket signs…they look like you and I. Who are they and what are their truths? What provides them the voice to shout so loudly that it is necessary to bring another opposing view-point to this volatile discussion. I do not have the answers…but I have some thoughts.

Dr. Johnny McKinney of Boulevard Baptist Church has been guiding us through a discussion and examination of the Book of Genesis, a interesting text with many points-of-view. So literalist look at this text as the true faith based creation, and others look at it as a metaphor for how to live a good christian life. We all have a point-of-view. During the discussion, he told a story of the holocaust and the trial of the architect of the holocaust in the 1960’s.

Dr. McKinney tells us that during the trial of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem, as one of the holocaust survivors walked in to testify, that person collapsed upon seeing Eichmann for the first time. He did not collapse because he was so mad or overwhelmed with emotion from the events of the holocaust, or even what they had to go through in the concentration camps; but that Adolf Eichmann looked just like you and I. He looked “human.” This man thought the Jews were an evil group of people, and wanted to separate them from the rest of the human race.

So here is my question, why are we trying to protest the evil ones? Who are the evil ones? Did Jared Laughner see Gabrielle Gifford as evil? Does Westboro Baptist Church see those who they are protesting as evil? What is their poinit-of-view and what drives them to passionately advocate for their message. Or maybe they are driven by fear as well, not willing to take part in mutual discourse. Maybe their message is a one-way avenue to impose their truth. I am in search to understand and see their point-of-view, not to accept…but to understand. To take part in mutual discourse, open conversation, one of understanding.

As I was sitting and listening to Dr. McKinney speaking, I wrote the following. It was in response to this past week and the words of his talk this morning.

To understand ones truth does not mean you accept ones truth.

Examining and exploring another truth is a path to understanding, to see and hear another point of view.

Our truth is our reference point, our ethos. It is the foundation that makes cry, scream, laugh…our lens.

When we listen to other truths….it sometime takes out of our comfort zone both intellectually and emotionally.

When we begin to understand another truth, we put away our emotions and allow our logic step ahead and process anothers’ point-of-view.

We can dissect another’s truth and allow our emotions to express our acceptance or rejection.

We choose to not hear another point of view or truth because of fear of the unknown. Fear of what we are not certain how our logic will interpret and how our emotions can to take control.

Fear sometime drives the resistance to understand and listen to truth.

Our truth is powerful.

As storytellers, it is important to seek and understand the other point-of-view. It does not mean we must agree, but to seek and understand is the path to quality discourse that bridges gaps. As humans…quality discourse leads to healthy conversations.

Why do I write about something this political and personal on this blog, because our stories are stories of truths. We tell stories from many different points-of-view. They are full of messages and ideologies that shape the way audiences perceive a message and form the truths that shape their lives, and the lives they influence. We must be cognizant of our messages…and understand the opposing point-of-view and the people it will influence. Mutual discourse is a beautiful thing.

Do you have thoughts? I invite you to let me know! I am open for thoughts and discussion.