The Unwritten Words …
I used to be pretty good at Scrabble. I could always come up with some random word nobody’d ever think of, and somehow it fit just where it was supposed to. Lately? Not so much. Lately, it seems I’m waiting on words, the right ones, as if there are such a thing, and they refuse to come.
They sit at the surface, mocking and goading and knowing my struggle. Sometimes they dance across the dusty floor of my mind and spin and shake with laughter because they know how good they are. They know I’ll never use them.
My unwritten words pile up like Scrabble pieces. It’s hard to think, let alone write a coherent sentence when you’re walking around in a fog. That’s how I’ve been feeling lately. The past year has been an up and down struggle with health issues and other distractions, interspersed with amazing joys and revelations and victory over darkness, but there are still days, like today, when that fog rolls in again. And writing on less than adequate sleep is never a good idea. But I do it anyway.
And the words laugh and jump out of reach.
Because there is so much I want to say, you see, so much I want you to know. Because it doesn’t matter how crappy I’m feeling, how tired I am or how much I simply want to shut it all out … life goes on. And some days I want to say STOP. Stop pointing fingers, stop judging, stop baiting one another into conversations you know will cause division, just … stop. For the love of God, stop.
This is exactly how I’ve felt this past week.
As much as I admit to loving (and possibly being addicted to) social media, I have to say there were a few times recently when I was ready to shut it all down, cancel all my accounts and walk away. Because people are mean. Horrible and nasty.
I read so many demeaning, belittling and just truly ignorant words that it left me sick to my stomach. And it doesn’t matter what the issue is, what you stand for or even believe in, honestly, I don’t care. I’m not going to blast my opinion on world issues all over the inter webs, if you’re that interested, ask me privately, but really, what the words I haven’t been able to write would have said, go something like this.
You are not better than me. I am not better than you. I may not agree with you, you may disagree with me. But can we not love? Where will the hatred, the bickering, the name-calling and the soul-deep, shame-inducing offensive statements lead us? To the foot of the cross? Or will we be so consumed in the debate that we’ll walk right past it?
My words may be rejected. My faith will be rejected. The world around us may churn and change and challenge our beliefs, but if we let that snatch away civility and common decency … nobody wins. If we dare to stand in judgement and condemnation, we’re going to have to be prepared to receive it. It’ll be the longest volley in the history of the world.
I don’t know about you, but I’m already tired. I just want to pull up a chair, sip a drink and find out how you are. Not who you are. How you are. You know?
And I’m sorry for the hurt. The harsh words. The hatred. And the pain. And all the misunderstandings that prevent us from really seeing one another. I can’t stop all that crap from happening. But I don’t have to take part.
Those unwritten words … sometimes they come out like tears. And I wonder whether its even worth it to share my heart. But I believe I have to. We have to. We have to say the things that hurt, the things that scare us and make us want to hide under the covers from the weight of them. Because nobody said this would be easy. Our soul stories are meant to be shared. They are the doorway to love.
And if we can’t love, I’m not sure we can really live. Not the way we were meant to.
I’m not going to pretend I understand everything going on around me. But the reactions to them that I’ve witnessed have strengthened my own determination to live a better life, to be kinder, more understanding. To love well, whether that love is reciprocated or not. I’m not throwing stones because I don’t like sweeping up glass.
‘Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.’ John 15:13
Love, friends, and love well.
It isn’t easy. There have been times when I was moved to say, “I don’t agree, and I think what you’ve said is tosh…and here’s why…”
I wouldn’t speak with respect to Nazi, or a follower of the Khmer Rouge, but it seems that as a Christian I’m expected to do so, and to be mildly tolerant of those whose words and actions pave the way for modern-day versions of the same.
I’d much rather go out into the bush and take direct action, but words are all I have now.
A case in point – about a year ago I commented on a piece of writing in which it was claimed that “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter”. Only someone who’s never seen what terrorism is, nor has seen the tyranny which demands resistance, could say that. I said that, and was castigated as an intolerant brute.
But I do believe that words mean something, and that invidious shibboleths, repeated often enough, can be enshrined as Truth, an truth which accepted will lead to actions whose end we would not want to live to see.