I have just finished reading this book by Jodi Picoult. My daughters and I have been gobbling up each of her novels. She's a master storyteller but what I love most about her writing is the way she explores those 'grey' areas, those situations which seem, on the surface to be black and white, right or wrong, but are, on closer examination, grey and murky.
When we hear about people in the news we are quick to judge. They should have done this. I would have done that if I were them. But if there's one thing I've finally learned in my 51 years it's that nothing is ever as it seems. We will never really know what it is like to be another person, what motivates them, what makes them tick, even if we have lived with them for many years. We don't understand how the experiences they've lived through have shaped their world views, their way of justifying what they do. We don't ever fully know another person because we are not living in their bodies, their minds. What does it feel like to have an overwhelming need for a drug? An overwhelming rage that makes us violent? All we know is what seems obvious from the outside looking in, knowing only what we understand from our own life experiences. As Picoult shows us in her books, there is always so much more to consider.
People are complicated beasts. We must not judge too quickly. Let us be kind to one another, listen as best we can, and hope, that by sending compassion and love out into the world, we can ease the torment that lives in the hearts of so many.