A Way With Words

I write poems from time to time and, obviously (since you’re reading this), blog posts, too. I’ve been doing this for quite a while now and, while I’ve won no awards and don’t think I’m good enough or have enough passion to try to make a living through writing, I have been told, on more than one occasion, that I have “a way with words.”

I certainly appreciate the compliment and the affirmation that I feel each time somebody responds positively to something I write whether it be a notification that somebody clicked the “Like” link under something I posted or whether something I’ve written elicits a much more significant response (one example happening during my dad’s sixteen month battle that he eventually lost to brain cancer when I walked in on him as he was reading a post I’d written in tribute to him and he was wiping away tears – emotion that he rarely showed under any circumstance).

But, more and more, lately, I’ve become aware of just how worthless words can be. Even if I had the ability to phrase words in such a way that could inspire masses of people, if I don’t have the substance in my personal life to match the love and compassion that I claim to possess, my words are empty and could, quite possibly, do more harm than good.

Multiple scenarios have come to mind in my personal life, of late, in which I have completely dropped the ball. During the summer, a time when teachers such as myself have more free time (though, deservedly so I might add!) than at any other time of the year, I let my priorities fall out of order. I found many reasons, from one moment to the next and from one day to the next,  from the beginning of the summer to the end, to just continue doing whatever self-focused task I was involved in instead of getting up to go and visit someone who is struggling, instead of calling to see if I could come in for a shift at the local homeless shelter, or, sometimes even to get up and play with my own kids.

Undoubtedly, I have been blessed with a great deal of compassion and love from those around me and, certainly, from God above. But, the biblical principle that those who are blessed greatly should, in turn, bless others greatly has taken a hit in my personal life this summer and now it is time to start a new school year.

With the start of this new school year, my prayer and my mission – the focus area in my life where I need to step aside and let God’s grace shine – is clear: I need to live with humble integrity by recognizing my shortfalls, emptying my hands, and taking steps forward, one at a time, trusting that God will plant them in the direction He has planned. There is too much at stake in this life and our time here is too short to just exchange pleasantries and talk about doing what is right.

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One response to “A Way With Words

  1. Amen, Mark! I love this line: “There is too much at stake in this life and our time here is too short to just exchange pleasantries and talk about doing what is right.”

    At church on Sunday, we learned of a 10 mo. old baby girl from church who was recently killed in a local car accident, and of her 4-year-old sister whose brain stem detached from her spinal chord, and she is fighting for her life. It has rocked my world and served, for me, to magnify the lens through which I see the people around me. Our time is short, and nothing, in the end, will matter, except for who we take with us to heaven. Thank you, as you are prone to doing, for convicting me. There is so much vain distraction, especially in the lives of middle class Americans, that deter us from God’s purpose for our lives. I need to live in continual righteous fear of God’s assessment of my life’s stewardship practices. Your words DO make a difference, but my responsibility begins where your words leave off. Thanks for being salt and light, and, especially, for being authentic. I find that public humility is contagious, and I’m sure it’s like sweet incense to our Father!! : )

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