Thursday, November 17, 2005

Clumsy Words

You and me, we use so very many clumsy words.
The noise of what we often say is not worth being heard.

These words, borrowed from Michael Card, express well my own thoughts when invited to write or speak in anything resembling a public forum. I've spent my life using words, studying words, loving words, and learning the words of other languages. The thought of offering words for others to read or hear, however--as if I have something important to say to more than one person at a time--strikes me often as something close to arrogance.

I think of Moses. “I’m not good with words!”

I think of Isaiah. “My lips are unclean. How dare I speak for or about you?”

How do I know that what I say is worth being heard?

Certainly, as the writer of Proverbs reminds us repeatedly, there is wisdom in being slow to speak, slow to assume that what we are thinking at the moment actually needs to be said.


Especially in today’s world of technology (modern technology, we like to call it, though one day it will be arcane), words are everywhere. They are cheap. Anyone can get a book published, if he doesn’t care who publishes it. It seems like anyone can get a spot on TV or the radio, even if they say things no one in their right mind would want to hear. I can write for this blog, and shortly it will appear on the internet for all the world to see, at no cost to me or to the reader.

I've named this blog with words borrowed from Gerard Manley Hopkins, my favorite poet. Now there's someone who had words worth sharing. And yet even he felt that his words were clumsy at times, and almost no one read anything he wrote until after his death.

If you're reading this, you can thank my friends for it. The friends who tell me they like to read my words, hear my thoughts. The ones who've said, "You ought to have a blog." "If you had a blog, I'd read yours."

I guess I hate to think they might not be around to read things after my death.

So, here's to you, friends. A few months ago I refused to even use the word blog without putting quotes around it to show that I didn't accept it as a real word. Now you've got me creating a blog. (Ugh, I still don't like the word!)

In Michael Card's song, he winds up singing about the Incarnation, how God spoke His love and life into the person of Jesus Christ, the living Word. The Word who knew exactly what his purpose was and did not waste time on clumsy or pointless words.

I wish I were like that. So in tune to the rhythms of the universe that I could speak and write only what needed to be said.

I'm not there yet.

For now, I encourage myself and anyone reading this to remember that if we want our words to mean anything, we can look at our lives to see how the two match up. Put flesh on our words. Incarnate them. I have a feeling that's a good way start to avoiding clumsy, meaningless words.

(Like "blog"?)

5 comments:

Jay said...

Wow! This is wonderful, Sheila. I will bookmark your blog and look forward to listening in on your wise and insightful thoughts. Welcome to the blogoshere!

Lisa said...

My dear, dear sister! I'm so glad that the rest of the world will get the opportunity to know you and your beautiful words. Talking with you, being with you, thinking with you -- it's such a joy for me. Others will also find joy in your words.

I love you very much. I look forward to seeing you soon and reading more from you!

Much love!

Lawrence Underwood said...

Hey little sister! I love the blog. I'm looking forward to your words and thoughts. I'll have to add this to my blog roll.

Bethshoe said...

You ought to have a blog. If you had a blog, I'd read yours. (At least I should have said it). I love you!

P.S. I pray I remember to practice the fleshy word thing. That was good.

amylson said...

Hey, Sheila! Very cool. But now that I had to do all that stuff to create my own blog so that I could leave a comment (?) I forgot what other comments I was going to leave.