Being Right, yes with a capital “R”, the kind of rightness on which we would be willing to stake our lives, is a funny thing – so tempting, so exciting, so good, and so often deadly. When our sense of being right is complete or absolute, which is often the way we think of being really right, especially in matters of faith, look out!
It often leads us to feeling good about going to war, blowing people up, oppressing those who are different from ourselves. Why? “Because we are right.” And that’s often followed up with “I know I am right, because God said so”.
April is National Poetry Month, which reminded me of a poem by departed Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai.
Although Amichai is dead, his name translates into, Judea (or a Jew), my people lives. And his poem, The Place Where We Are Right, offers profound insight about how we can find success by balancing our yearning to be right with some modesty in how we go about being right. Here’s how it goes:
From the place where we are right
flowers will never grow
in the spring.
The place where we are right
is hard and trampled
like a yard.
But doubts and loves
dig up the world
like a mole, a plow.
And a whisper will be heard in the place
where the ruined
house once stood.
So many times, we feel we are faced with being certain vs. living with doubt — with being correct or with being loving. I know which choices I tend to make, how about you?