Safe People, Risky Business

Katniss in Mockingjay for NYTimesOne of the benefits of reading is that it helps you find yourself, identify yourself through what you read. Here’s a point where I identified with Miller early in Scary Close:

At some point, I just stopped trusting people. I began to believe everybody viewed life as a contest, a subtle version of the Hunger Games. And to some degree I bought into the lie.

One of the things that angers me (rightly) about The Hunger Games is the sense of implication you get from every single person in the story. Striving to do good means selling out in some way. That includes me. The struggle, then, becomes extricating yourself from the “game” and moving to a better disposition.

Miller spends a good amount of time talking about manipulative people: scorekeepers, judges, false heroes, fearmongers, and floppers. If you’re anything like me, you are one of those each day of the work-week. Then Miller turns his attention to the better way to be: the safe person. These people, like Miller’s wife and friend David, are “truth tellers,” they offer grace, “the kind of grace in which they assume I’m a really great guy who’s just trying to figure things out, and they politely show me the error of my ways.” A safe person, Miller says through the view of authors Cloud and Townsend, is “somebody who speaks the truth in grace.”

I’m still trying to move away from a Hunger Games version of life. I’ve got my own idea of that that kind of life can look like, and I’ll get around to sharing it next week. When your implicated in a rigged game, and the Hunger Games view of life is definitely rigged, it takes both subtle and bold moves to get to a healthier place. That’s something reading Scary Close has reminded me of.

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