Wednesday, 11 January 2017
God's Word and Ours
As writers, we agree that words are important. We rather depend on them. The ones we choose, and the order we put them in, have a huge impact on the quality of our craft. Of course, eloquence is not enough. We need to have a clever plot, a sense of place, believable characters and a story that unfolds with skill and precision. Don't ask for much do they, the readers of the world?
I've been thinking about words, not the ones I write but the ones I speak. What comes out of my mouth has always been a source of fascination to me (that's why I'm a teacher LOL) because it varies so much. I'm usually quiet when in a large group of chatty people unless I know them very, very well. When I'm with less talkative people I turn into a kind of female Alan Carr, but not half as funny. But I can be funny when I'm with other funny people. In a room of gloomworts, I couldn't crack a joke to save my life. The way I communicate depends on the company I keep.
I've also been challenged over the years to be more careful what I say, not to exaggerate so much, not to gossip, to be kinder when I'm inwardly shouting, "You idiot!" And to be more authentic, instead of saying what I believe is expected. Also, so much of what we say is mere convention, that it can sometimes wrong-foot people if we're honest. The ubiquitous 'How are you?' is an example of a ritual greeting that no one expects you to answer with "Tired, coldy and I have a nasal wart." It's like the expression, 'Make yourself at home.' If my visitors put their shoes on the sofa, scratched their armpits and took a glass of sherry into the bath, I'd probably make an excuse next time they called. That reminds me of what an American friend once said when he asked if I knew the definition of British hospitality. He cleared his throat. It turned out to be "Making people feel at home when you wish they were". I understood why he cleared his throat. He was staying with us at the time.
God's words are creative. He made the world with them. They divide bone and marrow. They are sharp, but loving, just but kind. They burn. Breath of truth, they are living water, a lamp to my feet, a light to my path. When I'm reading the bible, or praying, or even talking about God to a friend, I become kinder, I am careful what I say, I feel a warmth that starts in my belly and rolls on up to my tongue so that what I say changes. If this is true when I talk, it's also true when I write. I am determined this year to spend more time talking to God about my writing, to engage more fully with my ACW mates, to hang out with positive, hopeful people. Then perhaps one day my words, spoken and written, will shine.
It all depends on the company I keep...
"Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life." Philippians 2: 14 - 16
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Deborah Jenkins is a part-time teacher and freelance writer who has written articles, text books, devotional notes and short stories. She has completed a novella, The Evenness of Things, available as an Amazon e-book and is currently working on writing school textbooks for Macmillan. She is also writing a full length novel. Deborah loves hats, trees and small children. After years overseas with her family, who are now grown up, she lives in south-west London with her husband, a Baptist minister, and a cat called Oliver