I’m in the mood for some uplifting thoughts and writing something absolutely glowing. As such, I think I will write about my dear friend, Stace. Now a lot of people probably know Stace. Around Bloop, she’s known as The Sentinel. And she writes an excellent diary which I highly recommend to everyone.
In reality, the real reason I’m writing about Stace is two-fold. For starters, I’ve thought about her in a couple different conversations I’ve had this morning. And she just seems to be on my thoughts. And since I really need to write a diary entry anyway and it’s always easy to write about whatever is on your mind, it seemed like a logical conclusion to make. (Besides, I’m also having fun imagining her blushing as she reads this.)
So, who is this person? If I sat and thought about it, and poured all my writing skill into my efforts, I still don’t think I could ever make a description of her that would be fitting. She’s just too nice and wonderful for that. She’s caring, intelligent, thoughtful, compassionate, and strong. I don’t believe in role models, but if I did, I think Stace would be high on my list of excellent role models.
Stace is a Christian. Stace is a devout Christian, in fact, and it doesn’t take long talking to her to realize that her faith influences everything in her life. And yet, she has a nature — a way of carrying herself, if you will — that makes that seem perfectly natural and desirable. It seems to me that for her, it’s not a matter of doing or making things fit. It’s a matter of her being who she is. And this makes it an attractive trait in her.
Stace has very strong convictions about things. She knows what she believes and why she believes it, and she makes no apology about it. And yet, she can interact with people who don’t share — or even oppose — her convictions and demonstrate a level of warmth, dignity, and respect that is astonishing. I often get the impression that she can say to someone, “I disagree with you,” and yet not feel the need to draw that disagreement into a long, distasteful argument thinly disguised as “debate” or “discussion.” To be honest, I think that’s one of the things that truly amazes me about her. Perhaps in part because it’s something that I envy about her. It’s something in my life that I — who still struggles with the urge to “have the last word” more often than I’d like to admit — still need to work on. And I think that seeing how she’s able to rise above that kind of smallness on a consistent basis inspires me. (Well, when it doesn’t shame me, at least.)
But the other thing about Stace’s convictions is that while she’s uncompromising, she’s also not above re-evaluating. That probably doesn’t make much sense, so let me explain. Being a Christian, she believes that the Bible is the inerrant word of God. She believes that it is the primary source — if not the sole source — of religious Truth and a precious gift from the Almighty. Now, a lot of Christians will tell you that. But I’ll be honest, I don’t believe all Christians who tell me that necessarily believe it. I’ve been known to get into arguments (you see, there I go not emulating Stace) with a small number of Christians who will use the Bible to “prove their point.” Often times, when they do this, they will use one or two verses, completely ignoring the overall message. (And worse, they sometimes take those verses out of context.) On very rare occasion, I’ve even seen some go so far as to rationalize their interpretation even after you’ve pointed this out. (I recently got into this argument over one Christian’s interpretation of John 1, and am currently trying to remind myself to swallow my pride and extricate myself from what has become a pointless argument.) But I have never seen Stace do this. Sure, I’ve seen Stace select Bible passages (though as I think of it, it seems to me that she chooses entire passages over single verses more often than not) to demonstrate what she believes, but she’s also open to re-examining her interpretations. And she also often talks about searching through the Bible to study on a particular topic. She does this to understand what she believes — or even to re-examine why she believes something and how Biblical it is. I have a lot of respect for someone who can openly show that the Bible is as much about her personal search for Truth as demonstrating the Truth to others. Overall, it just seems to demonstrate a tangible belief that the Bible really is a Holy and sacred thing.
The other thing that makes Stace wonderful is that she listens. Back in college, I had to learn about this concept that was called “active listening.” I don’t know if Stace had to learn that at some point in her life too, but just in conversations with her, I can tell that she understands the basic concepts involved and practices them regularly. She takes an active interest in people, and tries to understand them better. Even when their views don’t match up with her own. And most importantly, she doesn’t just inquire about these things for the sake of “getting more ammo.” There are some people whose questions I’m wary of answering. In my experience, some people ask questions and then listen to the answers just enough to formulate their next argument. But Stace doesn’t do that. She does it because she’s sincerely interested and wants to understand. It’s easier to to talk freely with someone who doesn’t always seem to have an “ulterior motive” hiding just below the surface.
But I think what truly amazes me is that she understands love and she’s a loving person. When Stace says she loves someone, they know it. Too often, people talk about loving others and say they do, but it’s in an abstract sense. The problem is, love is not an abstraction, it’s a real, solid thing. And it’s expressed through actions. Little actions, big actions, but always actions, and definite actions. And Stace demonstrates it through her listening, sincere curiosity, and warm heart. Some days, I don’t know how she balances standing for her convictions with her loving heart as well as she does. But I’m glad she days.
Like I said, I could never truly describe Stace in a way that does her justice. But I hope that I’ve at least expressed my adoration for her and described a small portion of her delightful and honorable nature fairly.