Today I was thinking that I sometimes say and write the stupidest things. If my live was a movie, I could just yell, “Cut!” and play the scene over. However, it’s more like reality television and the cameras just keep on rolling.
I’d like to think my screw-ups are amusing, and at times, they’re, well, embarrassing. I know we’re all impossibly imperfect, but did you ever think you mess up more than the average human being? I talk and write a lot so the chances of me saying or doing the wrong thing increase with each line I type or word I say. It’s enough to make an anxious person downright paranoid.
Growing up in church didn’t help much either because there are a ton of verses about the tongue and talking and saying the wrong things and how we’ll be “damned by our words” or something like that. And don’t we always say that Peter the disciple’s big problem was that he spoke first and thought later? Am I destined to just go around talking nonsense the rest of my life and reaping judgment onto myself? I’m thinking that maybe I should just shut up.
Then again, if I shut up, I would carefully measure each and every word. I probably wouldn’t say the things I should say in an effort to be pithy in speech. Plus, let’s face it, I probably wouldn’t even make it through the first half hour of a silent retreat, what are the chances of me shutting up? Not very good.
I try to temper my speech with prayer, compassion, concern, and encouragement, but I do have a slight sarcastic edge and a biting wit that can wound. Generally, I’m even careful about that and fretting about saying “mean things” when really the other person wasn’t offended at all. Proverbs says that a wound from a friend can be trusted, but I just hate to cause people unnecessary (or even necessary) pain.
If I’m really honest (and vulnerable) about it, I’m afraid of saying (or doing) the wrong thing because that’s what makes people leave. I’m still that middle school girl who won’t talk because she feels she has nothing of value to say, but now I just keep talking until something good or humorous or clever spills forth. I talk and tease and banter because I don’t want to be alone, misunderstood, or unimportant. I want to matter not only to God, but to those around me. I want to be noticed…with words and with speech.
I don’t think it’s egotistical to admit that. We all want to be noticed for a job well done, a speech well presented, or an album well recorded. Perhaps this post is merely musing out loud or a lame attempt to offer an apology (or explanation) for all the stupid things I’ve said and will say in the future. Maybe I just want you to understand so when I do say the wrong thing, you won’t leave. It could be that I said too much already. Or not enough. Here we go again!