Context

Everything is created within context but, by its very nature of having been created, stands apart from its context.  If the story of the context it was created in isn't told... then the creation's value is lessened to the point of being worthless.

Every director has a first home move, every painter a first drawing.  Every company a first product, every store the first dollar they ever made.

But take anything - anything - out of context and suddenly the story fades.  Why value is there, really, to that dollar bill that is framed, hanging over a register? It's value is, simply put, a dollar.  But to the shop owner that dollar is a lifetime of trials and tribulations, hopes and dreams, and everything they have built their life upon.  That dollar is priceless.

We know this; we ascribe value to the things in our lives every day. Whether it be a stuffed animal that was gifted to us, a copy of the first book we wrote, or the proud test that says "A+" on it - things that have so much value when presented with the story of their creation yet so little value to the outside world.

And then, we quickly judge others creations at a moment's notice. That book was poorly written. That design is flawed. That video needed better color correction.

Who cares why it is the way it is; it's not good enough for me.

It doesn't matter that the video producer has never been shown how to use the color correction tools and desperately needs a mentor. It doesn't matter that this was the first time they created a website and, darn it, they are proud of the fact that they used CSS for the first time! It doesn't matter that the manuscript was a labor of love for a message the author just had to get out... 

 

In today's world of manufacturing lines and perfect consumer goods, I think we sometimes lose the beauty of someone's creation.  Whether it be the laborious task of writing line after line of code to make Twitter work on your iPhone app or the art of creating a box to ship your new gadget in, people create things every day and we abuse, criticize and cast doubt upon their creations because we don't pause to ask what the deeper story is.

Take, for instance, action figures. I collect them. And sometimes I get disappointed when I find out that some character I love... maybe his figure isn't as good as that Captain America figure. How could they disrespect someon as awesome as Kitty Pryde like that?! Her hair... it looks horrible! And her articulation... her waist just looks silly! WHY DOES CAPTAIN AMERICA GET SO MANY FIGURES AND YET I DO NOT HAVE A MOONBOY AND DEVIL DINOSAUR ON MY SHELF?

And yet...

That Kitty Pryde figure still got made. She's not perfect, no, but someone made her. And they might have had to cut corners, sure, but to get her out there onto the marketplace they were willing to work with what they had in order to do it.  And since they knew they might sell less of her... they made one more Captain America figure to offset the profits.  There's always context.

 

And... there's always context.

Maybe that creep across the room really is a pervert. But maybe he's never had a man in his life to show him how to respect a woman.

Maybe that co-worker really does have it out for you. Or maybe you represent everything they wish they could be, but lack the self-confidence to try.

Maybe that drug addict really did decide to throw her life away. Or maybe the drugs were the only escape she had from a broken home.

Maybe you really are a horrible person. Or maybe you're just a sinner who has yet to accept a lot of grace.

 

There's always context, but we are so quick to place things into OUR context that we forget to pause and realize that the world exists beyond our personal experiences.  And we're always being placed into someone else's context and we get scared to be human and share the whole story of what's going on in our world.

What's your context today?