There were a couple of phrases that started to become clichés in the regular conversations of Brad Chilcott.
The first was ‘the best ever in the world’, as in ‘this coffee from Bar 9 is the best coffee ever in the world’ – a claim which I can’t back up with facts and will likely make again the following day when a different barista serves me an equally impressive coffee. The second was ‘I hate with a passion’ as in ‘I hate Nickleback with a passion’. I noticed that I was speaking in extremes with very little room for grey.
In fact, in noticed I was capable of speaking in extremes on really any topic – no, Brad, they can’t all be the best restaurant in the universe, the best live gig in history or the worst debut album of all time. By definition there can’t be more than one most awful television program known to man. It simply isn’t the case that watching Everybody Loves Raymond makes me physically sick... wait, no, that one is pretty accurate. These wild exaggerations occurred to such a degree that my friends invented the ‘Brad filter’ – a device that anyone speaking to me should apply to any claim I make.
So here’s the issue – I don’t want people to need a Brad filter to make sense of what I’m really saying. In fact, I don’t want to be so hasty to assign every experience I have or person I meet into a categorical extreme. I’d rather be a person that has the ability to suck the good out of every moment while filtering out the bad. I want to be the kind of person that can see that although Avatar was preachy and predictable, it has some pretty sweet 3d. I want to be able to appreciate that although Justin Bieber is Justin Bieber he does have that thing that he does with his hair and that makes people smile and that that is ok.
I want to be able to recognise that in every experience I can learn something valuable about myself and the world around me, that creativity is worthy of praise even if it’s not my style and that there is no person on earth who should be written off as completely useless and unworthy of love. I want to see the danger in being an unteachable person who is overly committed to subjective absolutes and instead, search for whatever is good and lovable and redeemable in all people, places and situations. I want to see the world through the eyes of the God who, despite me being the 'absolutely worst person in all the universe', loves me more than anyone else in all of history ever can. Now there’s an absolute that needs no filtering.