Tuesday, August 30, 2005

the meaning of words

In the end, only kindness matters. - Jewel Kilcher

Sometime I start to notice messages appearing in different parts of my life as if God is trying to speak to me (no I am not hearing things - ha ha). For example, I read Tuesdays with Morrie's message about giving and receiving love, then wrote in my blog about it, and then Sunday's sermon was about receiving love... Our pastor talked about how we have to be able to receive love FIRST before we can give genuine love to others or ourselves for that matter. We have to be able to know that God loves us unconditionally, and that if we are children of God and accept the gift of his forgiveness, we are accepted as perfect even with our infinite imperfections, and that he wants to bless our lives.

I hear these things and intellectually understand but does my heart truly comprehend? Why do I worry and obsess and get anxiety over things I've said and things I've done when I should know that no matter what mistakes I make God's love for me burns bright and warm and eternal? I can curl up and rest in the warm sunshine of His love, and know that as long as I sincerely seek forgiveness for the errors in my ways, He will answer my prayers and guide me in my life's journey. He won't forsake me, and I will always be taken care of. I can lose my job or my health or my family or my friends or have the world hate me, or have no food or shelter, but God will continue to lead me and love me and provide all that I truly need- and with that love I can give to others. The answer to a prayer request may be NO (and it often is...) but I know that He is leading my life and I am here serving in the best way I can, using the gifts He gave me to teach, inspire, and love others with.

A couple weeks ago I received some somewhat harsh criticism. I heard words that were nothing but meanness, and they didn't hurt much because I knew that despite someone else's belief, those words were "not me". Regardless, in the face of words that sting or that seem to have no reality, I still like to search for the nugget of wisdom. Where are my actions misunderstood? What part of the words might I accept as true, if said in a kinder gentler way?

I remember an English assignment in 6th or 7th grade where we had to write definitions for words that had similar meanings but had different implications when you read them. It was an incredibly valuable lesson for me now as a writer - the exact word I choose can and will affect the way something is read and interpeted. Words are so powerful. So if someone calls me relentless it has a negative connotation. I know that in reality, I am very determined and persistent, yes. Similar words but the meaning is actually quite different. Relentless implies I will stop at nothing with a self-serving interest. I am definitely not that. I follow God's lead, and not my own (well I try, I certainly get off the path!). I am stubborn and impetuous and think I know the best way and I often do... but regardless I will not continue to pursue something into the ground if it is truly not a right path or not going anywhere. And these very traits have enabled me to succeed against many very difficult odds in my life, personally and professionally. Every trait can be both a weakness and a strength.

1 comment:

rich said...

Dear Wendee,
You will probably hardly remember me, but we corresponded somewhat briefly when you asked to quote from a review I had written of Walter Hern's Being a Christian in Science. I began reading your site at that time, which eventually became one of the catalysts for creating my own site, about my local park.
I read most of what you had put up through perhaps 2002, agonized at a distance about things you had experienced in the past, and was happy you were happily married (even if I was secretly infatuated as well).
Then I drifted away from you site, and only came back last month . . . and was silent.
So much had happened, and so much seemed sad, and wrong, and even wilder and meaner than things that had happened to you long ago. And it was all there on the page, raw as a knife wound, and deeper.
I had linked to your site years ago from my own, but now, while updating that link to include this blog, I also feel almost guilty, voyeuristic. In fact, I suppose that is why I am writing you this note, both to tell you of that link, and to feel I am not just standing in the dark and pointing to your soul as it sits in your blog and teling others to stare.
The link is at:
On another plane, I want to join those friends of yours who are praying and standing along with you, even if we are unknown, and physically distant from you. God makes His body mindful of its desperate, disperate, distant parts in the most unlikely ways, and I join those who pray for and with you, even while never having met you.
Sometimes I read a day and see no comments and wonder if anyone has seen the joy or anguish, or boredom, or obsevation that you have so carefully crafted that day. I suspect you have many secret readers, hopefully many who also pray for you and delight in your successes.
Thank you for your honesty as you write, and I pray for better men in your life . . . I think!