Beyond The Headlines
To some (unfortunate) people, life is black and white. Good or bad. Right or wrong. They're the headline readers of life. The ones who only see the big picture, never looking past it for another layer. They avoid digging deeper for the details, because they've got it all figured out.
Even when they don't.
The headline from our yard, late Sunday night: Man Destroys Fence. Police Respond.
The facts: We spied someone, who we did not know, violently trying to tear down a section of our fence at 11PM. The same one it took two years to install and two (long, hot) days to stain this summer. We went all Code Red: Andre ran outside sans shirt. I called the police.
We would have been well within our rights to press charges. To pick up the broken wooden pickets, while the responding officer charged the perpetrator. Call it a night.
But neither my husband nor I are ever content to accept things at face value.
By the time the officer arrived, we had already taken ourselves beyond the reflex action stage, totally based on anger, and uncovered much more of the story. Turns out the kid in question was in a whole lot of emotional pain. His mom died. And he was grieving. So he took it out on our fence. Granted, this doesn't excuse his actions. But it does explain them.
Andre gave his condolences. He and the young man shared a calm conversation on the sidewalk in front of our house about the importance of properly channeling your emotions. And how people work hard for what they have. It was a teachable moment. For everyone.
My point? It's a rare story that fits into a neat box, no matter who the starring characters are. So, you can either decide to accept the visible version as an absolute truth. Or demonstrate the fortitude to challenge your assumptions and what you think the ending should be.
The choice? All yours.