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Go ahead, try to keep this straight in your head - Rick

Is and Should

Is exists, should is a judgment often made by you, me and many others, often difficult to agree on and usually argued about. Is is a situation, should is a solution, a goal. Is is reality, should should be realistic, but based on an ideal, which is usually the start of an argument. Most of us have an opinion about what should should be, but we usually surrender to the “reality” of the obstacles presented by is.
There are times when is becomes intolerable and a general consensus on should forms which becomes influential in the new shape of is. Even then, the satisfaction with the new is is usually more of the nature of tolerance than any real satisfaction or happiness. This is because of the disagreement that usually accompanies discussion of the ultimate shoulds and shouldn’ts.
There are as many ways to look at is and should as there are people walking the earth, maybe more. Some would say that is just is, should is unreachable and we should just deal with is as it is. Some say that is should be should and that we should all work toward the should that they see. Some say we should look at all the shoulds and reach a compromise should that we will make is, but this is will be just another is to deal with for the people who disagree with the should that was negotiated into the new is. It looks like should is just another part of is that makes is more difficult to deal with, doesn’t it!?
Apparently, both is and should are mixed bags. There always seems to be some part of is that we either forget or don’t notice when we are planning our shoulds. Is it the curse of the limits of the human mind or is it the curse of the arrogance of thinking that we know what is best for the world?
Look at some of the historical is and shoulds, some of the most radical. How about Jesus?
Jesus radical!? Somebody thought so, they did after all, try to kill him. What was the big deal about Jesus? Didn’t he just tell us to love each other in a neighborly way and wouldn’t life be much better for us if we did this? Most of us would agree with this and then use the excuse of “the way it is” or the “dog eat dog world out there” for not following through. Whose fault is that? There is more to Jesus, though. He also, it is written, taught and demonstrated a power above the power man has claimed to “govern “ himself. This is a threat to man kinds’ concept of being lord of the earth, something near and dear to the insecure heart, a pet idea man has about his intellect and abilities despite the evidence to the contrary, everyday evidence such as weather, the actions of other people, Murphy’s law and the consequences and results of so many of our “solutions.” This concept of mans’ sovereignty is so strong in circles of power that a phenomenon like Jesus is considered a threat worthy of “termination with extreme prejudice.”
The story does not, however end there. Look what happened once Jesus was physically out of the picture for a few years. That same family of power brokers, recognizing the power of the things Jesus said and did, adopted the institutions, established by men in Jesus’ name, as their own. They proclaimed their knowledge of his teachings and took it upon themselves to “interpret” this knowledge for the benefit of us “common people” and suddenly, these institutions were sanctioning things like war and and the exclusion of selected groups from the salvation which Jesus offered to everyone. Hmmm... the way it is!?
Then again, from one radical extreme to another, a more recent friend, Adolph Hitler. This guy took the idea of man being lord of the earth a little farther than the rest of the world would let him. Most of us are aware of his idea of a blonde haired, blue eyed, Aryan master race and how it ended up (we think, anyway). The funny thing is that Hitler himself was non blonde, non blue eyed, non Aryan and he only had one... well that’s nasty and nitpicking, but the contradictions don’t stop there. On the one hand, he believed in the absolute power of himself and Germany, but on the other hand he was so insecure about this power that he felt it necessary to eliminate whole races of people to maintain it. Hitler said that Germany should rule the world and he set about to make it is. He was supported by enough influential people that he went a long way toward succeeding. The is of the rest of the world felt pretty strongly against this, though, and, after much fighting destruction and death, the is of the rest of the world became the is of Germany. It was not, however, the is that existed before the war. Hmmm ... is and should...
These are two extreme examples, from one end to the other, but for both, back to the middle, “the way it is,” and in both cases an is that was changed, judged by many to be “better.” Is constantly changes and the more things change, the more they stay the same. The same is the next is.
The most important ises and shoulds are the local ones, your’s, mine and our neighbors’. The PTA shoulds and ises, the county election shoulds and ises, your church’s, your family’s shoulds and ises, the ones that never make the news or the papers are the shoulds and ises that make the world go round, that hold together or rip apart families, communities, societies and cultures. These “little” ises and shoulds determine the direction of the “big” shoulds and ises. They are the molecular shoulds and ises that make up the bigger element or compound mixture of the shoulds and ises that make the news. Your child’s school should be acceptable to you. Your local government should be acceptable to you. You should be satisfied with your efforts. You should do something about it if you “is” unhappy with any of these. These shoulds and ises ARE within your influence.
Is is the result of endless shoulds being tried and “modified” to is. Should is actually a part of is because shoulds exist in the minds of everyone and every once in a while someone decides to try to make should into is. If this person ends up being widely influential, then their should begins to affect the is of many of us.
Is and should are decisions that we all make. You may decide to put up with is or you may decide to try a should. We each do this every day whether we realize or think about it or not. On the job, at home, at the club, at church we all face is and should questions and situations everyday. Whether you are passive, aggressive, creative or mundane you will face them today and tomorrow. You will decide some on auto pilot or cruise control, you will think about others and your decision on some will be to ignore or not decide.We “is” stuck with it and we “should” be stuck with it, they are after all our lives. Is and should, hmmm ... Good Luck!?

by Al Ive
from "Thinkin To Do"

Reprinted with permission of copyright holder.