Monday, April 18, 2016

Enough said.

I have spoken and written way too much in my life and it only gets worse as I get older. (Sorry, everyone.)

Despite this online evidence to the contrary, words really get on my nerves. I mean, isn't it lovely to meet a person who listens more than they speak?

Our reception of language is often fixed and inflexible, so words are used to judge. Do you ever worry a LOT that someone will misinterpret what you have said? Boy, I do. Surely this is because I know my own tendency to judge others by what they say, rather than seek to understand the spirit in which they said it.

I used to have a deep suspicion of anyone who owned up to being, for example, 'proud' or 'drunk'. (I know). Such prejudice lasted long into my twenties. Then, at some point, I opened my eyes and realised that 'proud' for most people simply means happy. And 'drunk' could be anything from blacking out in a pool of vomit to having a delightful, tipsy chat with your mates. Oh the joy of being drunkenly proud of my children!

Often, social speech irritates me because I take it too literally. I hate bragging. My more tolerant husband has pointed out to me that people who brag usually just want to be liked. I try to see that. I have loosened up enough to know that banter is social glue, not frivolous disrespect. Sometimes I even manage to enjoy that, too.

Words in church are a big problem for me. Give me a ten-minute homily and silent prayer and an ancient hymn with words at least good enough to have stood the test of time any day. Oh and please, please, please save me from policies, doctrinal checklists, statements of faith and vision-writing exercises.

The bible is chock-full of losers, contradictions, mistakes, weirdness, metaphor and poetry. And it isn't even the Word of God - that role was reserved for a real, live person (who didn't go in much for sermonising).

And now, having proven myself to be a total hypocrite, I'll shut up.

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