Lately, I’ve been changing my mind. Or, to be accurate, my mind has slowly, quietly, been changing me, and it takes waking up at 3 a.m., half conscious, half floating in space, for one part of my brain to talk to another part of my soul and dutifully report the changes. I like that I am fluid enough, that I am human enough, to form opinions on matters and then watch them evolve into something else entirely-I take a few steps back and realize my opinions on that subject are not at all what they used to be, and I’m not as conservative or empathetic or well-informed as I hoped I was.
My dear friend, Adam, who also plays drums in the rock band, likes to debate. He is very articulate; he talks a lot and he does it well. So you can imagine the number of times, on long drives across America in our 15 passenger van, watching the sun set slowly or looking for gas station exits, he would present the band with a topic he had opinions on, or questions about. “Should gun control laws be more restricted?…….Are people born gay?……Did we pass Taco Bell?”
I found myself, on more than one occasion, resenting him for his lack of clarity on such matters. “You’re 26 years old for crying out loud, shouldn’t you have figured out your stand on this stuff? Like ten years ago?” It bothered me how…watery….he was. He’d say he felt one way, and then after looking up statistics about it on his phone, or a few more days to think it over, he’d have changed his mind. I felt that if he could go back and forth between how he felt about a topic, it was reduced to just his “feelings”, which didn’t really matter much in the quest for truth now did they?
I was raised in a very, let’s say, focused, Christian home. I grew up being taught that truth was found in one book, called the Bible, and if I wanted to know the truth about something, I could find it in there. If I could not find it in there, maybe God didn’t care too much either way and we were free to make up our own minds about it. For example, I thought (and still believe), that dressing in any way you’d like and listening to any genre of music should be included in that category. My parents, unfortunately, felt differently at the time. But some things were not in that book, but maybe God still cared very much about them. Maybe he wants us to ask him how he feels about it.
And so I am cautious, as my beliefs start evolving into questions, to measure them by the only standard of truth I have. The standard is still that book, as boring and confusing as it sometimes (ok, usually) is. But when the book is silent, or painfully vague on a topic, how do I decide what’s right? Why do I even think that I personally have any authority to decide if something is or isn’t right? Right means that it is inherently correct or true, apart from my opinions or feelings on it. RIGHT?
What I will not do, what I refuse to do, is believe that everyone has their own truth, that it is all relative. Because I’m not uncertain on that one-I know that is the wrong way to do it. The lazy, selfish way. The way that says “I don’t know how I feel about God so I guess whatever works for you works for you and if that doesn’t work for me then I guess I’ll go try something else.” No. There either is a god, or there isn’t. My lack of “making up my mind” about that makes no dent in the existence, or lack thereof, of God. How pathetically self-centered it would be to think that it would.
Anyways, now I’m gonna talk about marijuana.
I woke up last week to see it was just made legal in Colorado and Washington. And it got me wondering how I felt about that. I hadn’t really HAD to make up my mind about it before that morning, because the law had made it up for me. If there was any question in my head as to the merit of smoking pot, I didn’t even need to explore it, because it was illegal and I don’t do illegal drugs. It would be a bad example to our fans, to my little brothers. But when that invisible law is gone, society starts changing how they think about things, and the stigma slowly goes away as well. If there were no social repercussions to smoking pot, would I want to do it?
Lucky for me, I recently read an article about pot making you permanently dumb and decided no. But more than that, I’ve seen (I bet you have too) how it takes away people’s drive, their vision, their focus. I associate weed with video games and thirty year olds in their parent’s basements. But that doesn’t take away the questions that keep coming to mind….Like-Didn’t a ton of writers and poets way back in the day do a lot? ….Wasn’t it a lot weaker back then? …..What’s the difference between weed and cigarettes and red bull?
So, you can see my quest for truth in this matter is a bit blurry, and it is quite difficult to make up your mind about anything at all, because a few minutes later you’ll be presented with some new fact that challenges what you decided to believe. The challenge comes in deciding which matters can stay fluid, where you can painlessly change your mind as new information is brought to your attention. For me, gun control and plastic surgery probably fall into that category. I am not informed or passionate enough about either of those those subjects to dig my heels in and take a definite stance. But there are other subjects that I know are important, and I suspect there is a right way and a wrong way, only I don’t with full certainty know which it is.
And as I write this, it occurs to me that my precious opinions on subjects mean very little if they are not backed with measurable action. I can recognize that human trafficking is 100% wrong and decide that no new amount of information will change my mind on that, but if it stops at an opinion, it just sits in my head and does nothing. Action is required.
That’s enough for today.
I love you.