So much later. Time passes and here I sit, not writing, not recording the things–banal or significant, either one, both alike in their un-recordedness–that have taken up my days and mind since my Dad’s birthday, the last day I bothered to post to this weblog.
And speaking of weblogs, I am reminded of the late-1980s band Erasure and the first line of “Piano Song” which goes “Never get angry at stupid people”, when I think of many of the webloggers out there. For as hard as I try not to take bad writing personally, it tends to stick to me, like a stubborn blackberry vine to my long-sleeved shirt, and the many dull metaphors, missing elaboration, self-justified points and whiny arrogance continue to rip my better sense to shreds. Were I a less critical reader, this trivia would not bother me. Alas, I have not heeded Erasure’s advice.
So I turn to new and better pastures. Like the gleaners. Or the geese over our new house. Land trusts, cows and calves, rose bushes. Any one of these would make a fantastic subject for a blog entry, but I have chosen instead the topic Speaking Truth in Love, for it is precisely these moments, when I find myself irritated at these writers, judging their (in)ability to write, and pandering to the educated in my critical way that I know I am not doing what I ought to be doing and am, furthermore, encouraging criticism along the way. This is not Truth in Love, not to a wild degree.
But the question remains: What does one do when one disagrees with someone, or with an idea that is widespread or simply popular? How does one bring another voice to an either severely monotonous conversation, or to an already multifarious one? Is our desire simply to be heard greater than our desire to speak the truth? Are our egos and vain notions getting ahead of our love? Often, I would say, they are. Most of the time.
But the fact of the matter is, we embellish, or at least I do–I want to insert my opinion and I want others to validate my mindset, often even before I have bothered to critique it myself. For instead of running the possible ramifications of my comments through my head and coming to the conclusion that no, I do not need to say something snide or flippant in response to the rude or aggressive comment directed at me, I often let fly. Oh, far too often. Instead, how I long to stop my razor tongue, to listen to James (brother of Christ, writer of James which precedes Hebrews) when he advises us to let our yes mean yes and our no mean no. In essence, to think before we speak.
And that is how I wish I to do it: plainly, and without ego. To speak the truth in love we are required to set aside our egos, to let the message stand for us instead of the other way around. If we put the message, and in almost all cases this means God’s word, first, we will not struggle so much to follow it, for it stands on its own authority and leads us by that same authority. But when we step first, toting what we believe to be the Truth behind us, nay-saying and criticizing, what we are doing is masking that truth, preventing others from seeing it and knowing it in all of its hope and glory while we act as the false figurehead. In comparison to the Word, we look pretty silly, and also rather hypocritical, for who are we to profess an ability to manage and dole out Truth? We only fool ourselves, and we are often the last to find ourselves out.
Writing, or even thinking, without ego or self standing there as critic is nigh impossible. The trick isn’t to get rid of the ego then, but perhaps to admit it is there and write or speak or disagree while holding the knowledge that you, too, are subject to the laws of humanity and are in need of Truth once in a while. Or always. We make fun of self-examination in this day and age, tending to favor instead the ‘selfie’ or the ‘image of self’ rather than the reflection, the deeper waters, and this adds to our collective inability to take and even offer critique, improvement, suggestion. Our world is so quick to be wounded, and our youth particularly so. Why this is is subject matter for another post, but as I write I realize, latently, that our inability to speak in love comes not from our inabity to speak, but our inabiilty to love. In truth, the only way we can learn to speak the way of love is to be loved and no one will ever be able to do this as well or as permanently as God.