Do you see what I see? No? Good.
Don’t worry. This post isn’t about The Dress. Well, not really.
As a graphic designer, I pride myself on how I perceive color, on noticing the nuances of hues and shades and being able to describe them to my clients. So I confess that this has been kind of hard on me. One, I like to be right, and I still disagree with some of the conclusions regarding what the dress actually looks like. And two, I’ve always been adamant that I am a really good judge of color. I can see a paint chip once, and weeks later at Target pick up a throw pillow or vase that matches perfectly. One year I got a sweater for Christmas, and without having it with me, bought a pair of leggings the exact color as the sweater. I notice when there’s a little more blue in this green than in this one, or when the red contains a smidge of yellow.
When clients don’t see the same thing I do, at times I get a little bit of an attitude. Because it’s soooo clear to me, and I don’t know how they can’t see it. (And I may have mentioned that I like to be right.)
But this (somewhat annoying) dress debate has taught me something. There may be reasons I’d never considered for why someone else might see a specific situation in a different way than I do. Something that isn’t readily apparent. Something hidden. Unseen, if you will.
It’s not really about being right or wrong, no matter how much you want your perspective to be true. I’ve heard from many Christians “we believe the Truth.” “We only teach the Bible’s Truth.” And they mean it. I’ve been known to say the same thing, and I mean it too.
But my truth may look slightly different than yours, even when we’re both looking at the same picture. I see a light bluish-lavender color, which I assume is a white dress in cool wintry shadows (like the color of shadows striping an Indiana snowy landscape)—while you see blue.
Our culture has been edging more and more to extremes. There’s little middle ground, and practically no tolerance for different opinions. If nothing else, the dress has shown us that. And within the Christian culture, it seems that differences in worship or interpretation or practice have polarized us, rather than pulling us together.
And yet we’re all striving to see the same truth. To discover it, apply it, and live it.
But while I may read the Bible and note that Jesus drank wine—and therefore decide that wine should be used for communion, another person serves grape juice because they want to cause no man to stumble. And another may say somewhere in the middle is more accurate, because the wine in Jesus’ day wasn’t as strong as ours, so really if we’re wanting to follow Jesus, we should mix water with the wine.
I know there are bigger issues than this, and I personally don’t think this one is that important. Because we’re all trying to follow His directive to do this in remembrance of Him. To honor Him. And in my deepest self I believe God honors all of our intentions.
I do hope the discussion about the dress ends soon, but even more, I hope we walk away from it having learned something. Maybe when someone disagrees with me, or sees a situation differently or draws an alternate conclusion than I do, I have to consider that there’s more to it than meets the eye. It might be that their life experience has given them a different outlook. Perhaps they bring assumptions and biases to their interpretation of an event. Quite possibly, they’ve been hurt by someone using similar words as I am, by a church experience with imperfect people or leaders. Or maybe God reveals Himself in a different way to that person than He does to me.
It doesn’t mean my God has changed or that we serve different gods. Just that He created us as individuals. He speaks to us in a variety of ways.
Maybe we need to allow ourselves to be open to the possibility that neither of us is wrong.
And embrace the fact that we’re all just made a little bit differently.