Complex things are by nature more difficult to grasp.  But understanding them can be wonderful; beautiful, in fact, if you take your time to appreciate and explore - to savor the implications and not worry about  the final result. We (by "we" I mean "I") seem to let our "know-it-all" tendencies get the better of us and jump straight to our own conclusions and assumptions, taking the mystery out of life.

When we forget to the magnitude of these things, complex ideas like love or relationships, growth or birth, science or spirituality become stagnant formulas and wane into mundane facts.  M told me about an article last night,  it was about epistemology (how we know what we know) and in the end, the author concluded that everything in life is in "process".  Chew on that for a while.  He said, you can never really say you know someone by listing concrete facts about them - its not really accurate.  Everything in life is constantly changing - the very nature of time makes it so.  I am not "Shasta Feltman, generally pleasant, Christian, American woman, believes in xyz, owns a crappy car, has a passion for bbq sauce and cream cheese".  I am currently all those things, but all of those things are in change.  Even the Christian part - now this does not mean I don't believe that Jesus is Lord, it just means that how I live my faith and understand Christ will be in constant change throughout my entire life.

The implications for understanding knowledge this way is huge!  I can't just say that "this person is mean" or "that person hates God", I can't say "he is dumb or he's a jerk".  It may be true at the time but this is not necessarily who that person is.  In a way we create easy methods for dealing with the people (or situations) in our lives to make us feel better.  But as we mature we see how complex life is - how ideas and people are ever changing - you have no idea what God is doing in someone's life today or what they may learn or do in years to come.  We are in process and our lives are ultimately defined by none one but God. We are complex, never stagnant or mundane.

Let's go deeper.  How many people have you blown off because you think they're ignorant or unworthy of your time.  Have you ever been really upset by someone, written them off as ...insert negative personality trait here.  Then you were surprised and slightly irritated to find them doing kind things or great things or succeeding later on - you wanted to be mad at them, and continue to justify your anger by maintaining they're still an icky person. You can't ignore hurts of the past or pretend that all is peaches and pears, but what you've done in essence is limited that person, you've denied that persons ability to change and grow.  I'm the queen of this. It sort of ties in with forgiveness (or the lack of). To know someone is to be in relationship with them - to decide to continue on and see what happens.  Relationships are complex because they are dynamic, they are changing, new information always downloading via the world and via God.  In my short life I've noticed that there is something unnatural  in a person who never changes. They seem to almost lose a piece of their humanity.

So all this complexity is something to be enjoyed, explored, and respected as God's gift to you, you silly human. It makes you want to help a person along, give them space to grow, understanding that they're not finished yet.  We're not finished yet.  When we act like we've got it figured out the things God created to be beautiful, intricate and mysterious are dull and cliche.  Like love.  I thank God  that loving someone isn't a static concept - its growing and shifting and unpredictable! Yay! Cause that means I need (actually my own desperation forces me) to go to God everyday to sustain it, it takes a lot of pressure off me and brings me to my knees, like a child, asking for help.  Love is so utterly complex, no one fully understands it but God.  Its similar to all other learning and I need a teacher.

So lets look at other incredibly complex things that God gave us (that are constantly changing.)

The universe - (shout out to all you science geeks out there, God is a kick-butt scientist)
Love - Friendships
Your brain
Cells, life, growth

All these things require lots of patience and no one completely understands them yet - they're organic and beautiful and take extreme amounts of grace.  And to be completely honest, the goal isn't to understand them, its the journey that impacts you and the amazing purpose at the end (just ask an art major).  I won't lie to you, you can't do it alone.  You absolutely cannot.  You need a teacher and a comforter.  And hey, if you're fresh out, I think I could recommend one ;)

A few lovely lighter things to help after this hefty post:
A whimsical collection of swimming pools
Brave geologists walking before a lava stream
Got a beard?
Father - Son handmade bowtie and tie from say Yes! to hoboken

Photographs via here