Spring always reminds me how glorious blue skies and green leaves can be. When I was in the second grade, Mrs. Arnold chastised me for using those colors together. She said they didn’t match. Mrs. Arnold had very specific rules about which colors could be used together. We couldn’t deviate from her rules. When I used green and blue together in one of my class drawings, she forced me to do it over, since she said those colors shouldn’t be used together. I was a polite and obedient child, but I asked her why they didn’t match — since God used them together in nature. She was exasperated and told me to follow her rules. So when I see glorious beauty which mixes green and blue — such as this photo I took just outside my office Friday afternoon — it always reminds me of Mrs. Arnold. It reminds me that she was wrong. And it’s a good reminder for us all. There are established rules about a lot of things. Many of those are good rules. But if an expert tells you something and you know he’s wrong, you might need to take a chance. He might be just as mistaken as Mrs. Arnold was.
In the coming months and years, we’re going to need inventive and productive people pursuing things that matter. We’re going to need smart and self-directed men and women who will find ideas and create enterprises that will help bypass the political class and build a new and better society. But everything I see in media right now seems geared toward telling people how to entertain and amuse themselves. The stories are full of advice about what to binge on Netflix and what games you should be playing while you’re stuck at home. We desperately need to ignore this advice and be looking toward building new futures instead. Being passive consumers got us where we are today. It’s time that we reclaim our former role — the one that made this country wealthy — as productive and free people who build far more than we consume. This could be a great opportunity for those who will take it. Turn off Netflix. Put down the video game controller. We need new ideas, new achievements, new goals — not more coach potatoes. This is the time to be thinking and creating and planning for the future that you and I both want.
The better I know myself, the more I realize that my core fault — and the source of many other failings in me — is that of believing on a deep level that everyone and everything in my world must be perfect, especially me. If I had seen any of this in myself as recently as 10 years ago, I would have dismissed it as a small failing that showed up only every now and then, but I now see it as the wellspring from which my other sins are born. It’s such an insidious belief — and one that can look on the surface like a reasonable desire to be good and right — that it’s hard to acknowledge it as the inner cancer it is. But until I understood this, it was always going to be impossible for me to get over my deep shame about my imperfection or to accept the love of another person, because she is bound to be flawed, too.