It's been well over a week since my last entry. I go in spurts. Sadly, you can tell the amount of time I'm spending in cathartic contemplation based on the frequency of my blogs. If I'm getting away from the clamor and clutter of life, I tend to have more things to share and more time to share it. If I'm caught in the undertow of life's unforgiving and relentless waves of busyness, I can't get into a wordy water-fight cause my squirt-gun is bone dry. And when I can't write, I tend to get constipated with conflicting content. Thoughts remain random and unprocessed. Life moves along, each day piggy-backing on the next like a stack of unopened bills. Relationships tend toward encounters of happenstance, a crapshoot of loose connection. It's hard to explain, but writing orders my chaotic and crowded mind.
Writing forces me to define and refine my loose ends of emotion. Instead of the all-to-common answer of "I don't know" or "I'm not sure" to the question of "How are you doing?", I can piece together some words that render out what would otherwise remain ineffable feelings tabled inside. The discipline of writing gives my heart the release valve of voice. Instead of being gagged with a rag and duck taped to a basement chair, I'm taking time to fight for my heart's expression. There is pathos under there that is difficult to put into words, for sure. Often I squeeze my eyelids shut, clench my jaw, and tighten my fists in frustration as I'm trying to find the right words. But I've found that to find the right words, you have to write words. And even if the right words don't emerge, the simple act of writing tends to loosen the log-jammed linguist within. Instead of answering people with the all to common responses of "that's a good question" or "I have no idea" or "it's hard to put into words", I can actually give voice to the voids, vacuums and vacancies within, that typically stay latent and silent.
Writing also helps me to unload baggage that is building up inside my being. If I don't cathartically vent once in a while, I tend to collect thoughts, feelings, ideas and questions inside of me like a consummate pack-rat with a messy attic. This collection of dust and debris only serves to clutter my heart with confusion and combustion. Without writing I feel like I'm going to blow sometimes, congested in my conscience and confused with conflicting content. I stack thoughts on top of each other like boxes hoping that I'll remember where I'm putting stuff when the time comes to retrieve it. I rarely remember. Most ruminations get buried and forgotten. Stacks of unlabeled boxes filled with "only God knows what" collect dust and take up space within. This labeling process of writing can't be overstated. Writing is labeling to me. Ordering the collections of thoughts I've acquired over the years into a rolodex of intelligent contributions has become critical to what I've called "stewarding influence". I've learned that words are a huge part of influence. Words awaken, inspire, unearth, and emancipate. They are critical to the passing on of passion.
I remember a verse in the Bible that says, "How will they know unless they hear, and how will they hear unless someone tells them?" (that's the gist of it) No longer can we take a mulligan of "It's just hard to put into words" or one of my favorites "...for lack of better words..." as they stumble through a poor transfer of information or translation of affection. When the heart gets lost in translation, you can't tell me the kingdom doesn't suffer.
I know how important the wordless gospel of our life is. I know that we-must-preach-the-gospel-and-if-necessary-use-words business. I know the Scripture that speaks of loving with actions and truth and not just words and tongue. These are viable counterpoints, but I don't think God is affirming the lame-brain heralding of the message in the name of etymological ignorance. Action is urgent, but words are an emergency as well. It kills me when the world writes off God because of poor communication skills. How we say things is just as important as what we say. It just is.
I never did quite get this in the flight simulator of Bible College. But as I've engaged the real word of humanity, I'm finding creative communication to be paramount to effective ministry, not only speaking, but listening. Not only preaching, but conversing. It must be comedic, poetic, relevant, provocative, solemn, simple, and engaging. You can say that it only matters that you have a good heart, but I encourage you to go out there and see how far you get with a good heart. A good heart without a good mouth is like a good engine without a good car. And you can say things like, "It's better to be seen and not heard" or "Well done is better than well said.", but at the end of the day, words matter immensely.
And this is why writing matters to me. What, to many, may be a big fat waste of time is, to me, a big fat fight for meaning. And it's really about a fight for the heart, because tears might give you a peek into someone's soul, and actions might lead you down a path to someone's passions, but it is the medium of words that most beautifully expresses the nuanced textures of someone's holy heart.