Two Sides

It is an axiom that you have probably heard so many times it is almost meaningless. Which is unfortunate because we often overlook its truth.

Whether you're a witness to a violent crime or car accident. Whether you're an attorney prepared for a felony trial or arguing a contract dispute in mediation. Whether you are engaged in a physical altercation or a battle of wits. There are two sides to every story. His side and her side. Our side and their side. My side and your side.

A good investigator will recognize this truism and seek to find the elements of a story that matches up between opposing perspectives. However, when you're biased toward one party, it becomes a little more difficult to distinguish what really happened. When things fall apart our natural inclination is to reach a judgment as quickly as we possibly can. Truth be damned.

I am keenly aware of how separate versions of the same incident can vary so drastically - even to the point where it looks like two different tales are being told. This is a horror story but that is a comedy. Here we have historical drama, but there we have science fiction. One speaks in iambic pentameter and the other with a random stream of consciousness. And somehow both are describing the exact same course of events.

This is why I have been hesitant to share certain parts of my story. Because I know I'm biased. Because I know I would present it as if I were a documentary filmmaker and the other side was inventing mere fantasy. Because I know there is another side of the story that I am incapable of telling.

And the other side of my story has been told. Loudly and frequently. Unfortunately, most who have heard this alternate take are not interested in learning my perspective. They have accepted the other narrative as gospel and returned their verdict against me without any opportunity for defense or rebuttal. It's a kangaroo court of social interaction.

As a result, I am reticent to share certain details. As a storyteller, it is painful to bury these chapters, skipping over parts of the plot, only revealing carefully selected elements of my story that won't be disputed. In doing so, I avoid adversarial conflict.

Keep my head down. Silently bandage my wounds. Take every hit without returning fire. Suffer every false accusation in hopes that the truth will save me. Resign myself to the proposition that justice might never be served. Bite my lip. Say nothing.

Miraculously, through this experience, I have been healing. Somewhere between where I started and my life now, I have discovered something beautiful about brokenness. God's grace is most evident when we hurt; His power is displayed through our weaknesses. God uses our pain and our failures for His purposes. One person's scars can help mend another injured spirit. Your scars. My scars.

If words were weapons, my body would be marred.

I am getting better. My wounds are healing. Yet the remaining scars speak of a story that remains untold. It is there, eager to be freed. I want my failures and my road to recovery serve as a template for those who find themselves in a similar predicament. I want to stand shoulder to shoulder with other damaged heroes and give them a message of hope and solidarity.

In order to do so, I must start filling in the gaps. Fix the plot holes in the story of my life. It is time. It needs to happen. After all, there are two sides to every story.

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