Thanks to the amazing power of viral video Ted Williams, who happens to have this classic radio voice, went from zero to stardom essentially overnight last week. I thought it was a great story and shared it on Facebook; one of my friends commented that she was becoming a little “jaded… the gifting is… over the top… I’m not sure it’s doing any favors to someone who struggles with addiction.” (Mr. Williams has admitted to having substance abuse struggles in his past.) This got me thinking. Would she, and others out there who feel the same, feel differently if Mr. Williams did not have any history of addiction? Why? Is that appropriate? Who decides?
Who is my friend to imply that we should withhold generosity from someone because of past addiction? How long, then, will an addict have to wait before being allowed to reenter the world of receiving from others freely? Who will set these rules? And if that is allowed, what else will then be subject to regulation? If Christians are in power (and believe me they are), then what would stop them from deciding I have deviated “too much” by failing to attend church, owning blacklisted books, and God literally forbid, practicing meditation and even magic? How long will I have to “behave properly” before I could receive from others without it being questionable as to whether it was doing me any favors? Is that decision not entirely up to the giver?
Of course it is. I don’t know that my friend thought about this quite so much as I did. But even the implication that some authority to judge the worth of another might exist has grave consequences indeed. This way of thinking is nothing short of a path to the dark side. It is a simple step from here to racism, to segregation, to punishments of all kinds. Who gets to be the judge? What shall the criteria be, how will these evaluations be decided? Will exceptions be allowed under extenuating circumstances? Who will be given that authority?
Ugh, sounds like school. Shudder.
And what purpose does becoming jaded serve? Is my friend benefitting from closing herself off from feeling positive about this story? She certainly has no impact on Ted Williams by feeling doubt and suspicion. Is her life enriched in some way by her doubt and suspicion? Now that, I doubt. No, I’m pretty sure being jaded is a protection mechanism based in fear. After all, what could anyone have to lose from being hopeful about a rags to riches story? Sure, one might have to relinquish jealousy and racism, classism and arrogance… ah, yes, we insulate ourselves with those lovelies. Those ugly feelings are difficult to let go. So, jaded it is! Better to hold on to the worst of human behavior rather than risk keeping our hearts open and hoping for the best…
No thanks. I’ll keep my heart open, and I’ll retain my rights to making decisions based on the guidance of spirit and not abdicate to any fear-based external authority. TYVM!