in so many words

We like to hear ourselves talk and rant, really. I am no exception. Social media is proof of that. And sometimes religious zealots are the worst.

I love words. I’m pretty much a word nerd- I love to learn new ones and find etymologies fascinating. Words are my paintbrush, my chorus, my therapy– allowing me to maneuver through the labyrinth of my inner workings. At the end of the day though, if that’s all they are, I’ve just flapped my jaws for nothing. I’ve jumped on the bandwagon of the narcissistic, selfie generation, except I’m saying, “Look at me! Love my words!” Instead of perfected pixels, I boast perfected paragraphs.

I’ve realized lately, I’m not special and frankly my words might just be more noise added to the already deafening roar forced upon us from every side of every argument and issue.

So I had to ask myself then, why I write.

I concluded this: perhaps I AM different. My aim is to be the quiet voice, the evocative voice that someone, somewhere can nod in resonation with. I’m not the person standing on a soapbox with a megaphone. I’m not the loud mouth handing out religious paraphernalia. I am not even registered with a particular political party (Cue the shocked gasp!) But I DO have something to say. I DO believe in many things passionately that I won’t back down from, but unlike so many- I am always willing to listen as much as I speak.

I believe there are words better left unspoken. I believe God’s words are true. I believe combative words fall on deaf ears most of the time. I believe bold words are necessary and good. I believe words can bring healing or abuse- and I’ve been on the giving and receiving end of both.

I want my words to count for something. I want to say something ponder able. I want people who disagree to say it. I want people who find my words meaningful to tell the world.

This blog stands for truth but it also stands for acceptance and love and a willingness to change my ideas and say, “I don’t have it all together but I am sure of this: I journey towards my heavenly home. Won’t you journey with me? We can help each other and just maybe my words can be the balm to soothe your wounds or the prod to get you back on the right path.”

I Don’t Want No Stinking Band Aid ®

I’ll never forget the Sunday. Passing through the church lobby, a book on a small table caught my eye. The title: “Why Christians Can’t Trust Psychology”. I turned away disgusted. (In all fairness, I haven’t read the book. It might be helpful or truthful.) I was ready to go see a therapist myself after months of dealing with the reality that someone I loved was a substance abuser. It was an exorable grief, coursing through my veins on a daily basis.

This opened a can of stinking rotten worms in my head. Reminded me of a time when I too, thought I could give a hurting someone a bible verse band aid and make it “all better”.

A flood of incidences came to me, like the time I mentioned yoga as one of my fave forms of exercise in a bible study and getting “lovingly rebuked” that this was a no-no. (She said), “Do you know what Namaste’ means? You have to be careful because this is tied to eastern mysticism.” Made me want to downward dog right there!

Or the time that I mentioned a personal problem that one of my kids was having, suggesting that I might take them to see a psychiatrist. You should have seen the narrowed eyes on this sister! “You need to be wary of those worldly philosophies,” she admonished in a lowered tone. Translation: treat this as a spiritual problem and go seek some counseling at church.

Don’t get me started on the stuff people have told me about my struggle with depression. Let’s just say that posting 25 3×5 cards with Bible verses all over my house was not doing the trick.

Before you go all Bible thumping on me, you gotta understand something: I love the Bible. I think it is the very breathed out words of the living God, without error or unable to be added to or subtracted from. It is my most cherished book and the Psalms speak volumes about the plight of human emotion.

BUT, I also strongly hold to the fact that LOTS of other things can help us when we are in the doldrums: like the calming poses of yoga, the trained words and methods of a psychologist or therapist, recovery groups, self-hypnosis (yes, I’ve used this one with great success), rhythmic breathing patterns, friends with open minds and hearts, journal writing, heck, even a great cup of coffee or a relaxing glass of wine.

I will never again just offer the bible verse band aid. It’s no solution to the wound, only a temporary cover-up. Underneath the gash remains, festering, like the continual grief I was weighed down by that Sunday.

Instead, I will offer a listening ear then perhaps a truthful word, soft with empathy and flavored with the salve of hope of Jesus Christ. I will offer arms to hold or hug, eyes to see solutions beyond the obvious, and feet to walk along the path they are walking on until a brighter way comes into view.

Wanna Be Soccer Mom

I am no soccer mom but I got schooled this season, fo’ sho’. I need to come to early morning games armed: Venti Starbucks in one hand, Eddie Bauer camp chair in the other. Umbrella, optional, although protecting my milky white skin may be a good idea.

Some of these moms take elementary soccer games waaaaayyyy too seriously. There are the loud ones, the ones who talk to the ref, talk to the players, talk to the coach and any other parents who will listen (actually I think they would still speak even if NO ONE was listening).

Do they not understand that all the parents are spectating the same game? Maybe it is too early for them to remember that the other player’s parents are sitting right next to them and can hear their scathing remarks.

They have one word mantras like: “Pressure!” “Heat!” “Positions!”. They are not afraid to openly berate their child for all to hear either, but it can’t be bad parenting if the child can’t hear, right?!

Then there are the dads. These are the guys who probably eat and breathe sports. They have to really restrain themselves and frankly, they do better than the moms most of the time. They shout out the more technical things like position names and  foul plays. They encourage their own kid and everyone else’s too.

Here is what surprised me: I am more soccer mom than I thought possible.  There were a number of times I jumped up from my chair, waved my arms like crazed fan, yelled out encouraging words or a nice lil’ reminder for my sleepy-headed son to “WAKE UP”, cheered on every kid whose name I finally learned toward the end of the season.

I couldn’t believe how tense things got at times when they only needed one more goal to win it.  I wanted so much to channel my inner Jedi mind trick to push the ball up just a few inches further into the goal net. I felt a wee bit peeved at a couple refs who were clearly under-caffeinated as they missed obvious fouls like elbows to the ribs, a foot to the leg trip maneuver, or PUSHING! The hair on my arms might have bristled just a touch when the coach called my son out for day dreaming on the field (again).

Yep, I think I am getting the hang of this sports stuff. Maybe next year I will have a deluxe chair and actually leave for games in enough time to stop by Starbucks once in a while.

This I know for sure: I will keep my words positive and encouraging. I will not berate coaches or refs because I remember that these are people volunteering their time and effort for a thankless job. I will not criticize players because I remember that they are kids like my son and words mean something to their hearts far beyond a soccer field. I will never paint my face yellow and black to represent Hornets nor buy a themed umbrella. Nope. Not THAT much soccer mom.