I often see the following added on one or so Face Book posts now and again… “No Words.” And, each time I’ve seen it, I’ve wonder, “If you had no words, why are you telling us you have none? Just say nothing at all.” Then one day I found myself posting the same thing… I read a column that was shared by a friend and what did I say? “No words.” And, as I hit Enter, it occurred to me that I had just said the thing I thought was unthinkable. Why did I do that?
Why indeed. Did I need to make a statement in spite of myself? Was I feeling needy in some nondescript way? Did I just want to type something (I am a pianist… Maybe that was it!). I couldn’t understand myself. Often, I think we all say things, when saying nothing is really more appropriate. And then, a remark grabs us by our heart or just pushes our buttons.
I had that happen recently and what I’ve usually done is to say nothing, or try to find a positive spin. And when that No Words moment came yet again, the spin I chose was good for others perhaps, but it left me lacking. This time it just wouldn’t leave me alone. I sat down with Hubby and asked him if I was being dramatic.
He said, “How is it drama when you feel misrepresented by one who has no idea who you are? That much is true. And, maybe being misrepresented it also causes some loneliness. It’s hard to let those things go because there’s no resolution, and you are a person who likes to sum things up, bring them to a conclusion, like the last chapter of book.” And, he was right. I did feel all those things, and I did feel cheated of the last chapter, which without it made me feel as if I was non-existent… That being misrepresented by what was said, I myself was not visible. And what’s worse, that person has said it flippantly believing they’ve set the world right and probably forgotten their statement while I, an injured party, have not. Ouch! How do we resolve those kinds of things… Those words that roll out of someone’s mind in a split second sting others without that writer even knowing?
None of us like feeling as if the world is handing us over in misrepresentation. What was my issue? Someone had blatantly posted that people who do Lenten Disciplines should understand that they can’t earn their way to heaven. I’m betting that writer had never ever done a Lenten Discipline, otherwise said person would understand that it is not about points in heaven… It is about understanding how sacrifice is truly a part of love, that this is why Jesus climbed up on that cross and died. It was for love. It is about finding true understanding of love and compassion through faith in God.
In a way the comment “No words” would have really applied here for me, because I was astonished that a person would choose to pass judgement on others who attempt to understand sacrifice in love by making a sacrifice of their own. And what comes out of that effort? This!
When I am making a sacrifice in my Lenten Discipline, first I chose what I will either add to my daily life that will improve my understanding, or I give up something I think I can’t live without (but actually, I can)… Then, if I’ve done my homework well, my choice will be something from both categories. As I begin, it always seems as if I can manage things, and then the truth sets in… I see that I will need help to keep my sacrifice. And, that is when I go into meditation to find the strength from someplace within. In that meditation, I begin to renew my strength, because first I suffer, then I endure, and then I grow and am capable of doing that which seemed impossible. It’s like magic, but really it’s the Holy Spirit guiding my extreme desire to the conclusion that I seek… To achieve my goal and keep my Lenten Discipline. The true mystery of it all is that I mean to sacrifice, and as I sacrifice I find peace and an energy that comes from God. I find deep respect and humility for the gift of life through the sacrifice made by Christ Jesus for me and you.
Maybe now you can understand why I was so astonished at a comment to the affect that I’m trying to earn my way to heaven, or that any other person who observes a Lenten Discipline were doing same. It’s okay with me if some chose not to observe the Lenten Discipline. It’s okay if some don’t care if they never understand it… That’s their right to choose. But, please don’t pass judgement on something that is sacred to some of your friends and surrounding human beings. “No words”… If ya have to say some something, just say that. At least it doesn’t slap someone in the face. Or, perhaps try a Lenten Discipline and experience the miracle of sacrifice. And even then… Maybe just stick with “No Words”… God gets it. He knows what you mean, and those who’ve been judged will get it too.
May each day find you a little closer to the One who gave us life…
Carolyn Thomas Temple