Sunday, June 29, 2014

there i left them

To the weak I became weak, that I might gain the weak: I am become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some. 
--Paul of Tarsus

With bravery, with patience, with a considerable amount of discernment and prayer, he learned to write what he heard.
Which is not easy, not easy at all.
There are so many other messages, so many other thoughts that get in the way.
It is hard to remain free of distractions and to write only what you hear.
There are so many other words that we would rather write.
We are inconsistent creatures, who would rather write any other word than the one word that is given us.
It takes such faithfulness and constancy to stay the course, to trust that the one word we are being given is not constricting, but liberating.
That is we discipline ourselves to writing the one word, we will find that it contains all the meanings the other words we made up could never possibly express.
It is hard to believe that our desires for the other words are not much better than the desire we are supposed to reserve for the singular one.
It is tantalizing, intoxicating to think that there is a word that is being given to only us, that no one else could possibly understand.
To discover that we have been given a secret knowledge into an exclusive logos is a dangerously attractive prospect.
But this is quite the opposite of what we ought to do.

My tongue will never quite be able to forget the time that it was burned.
That the words came out painfully, in spurts.
It will probably never forget when the poor singed tastebuds tasted all the sweetest mishti, which felt like cardboard on my tongue.
But one must speak, even if one's tongue is burned.
And so I labored to say the words that no one has ever said easily, which have never been said without steep cost to the speaker.
Each time I worked up the courage to roll the harsh word off of my blistered tongue, I stopped short.
No, I would not say it, I would drink a glass of water, and roll the ice around my tongue instead.
For my tongue really did hurt, you know.
I really needed to nurse the poor thing back to health. Having a burned tongue is no good, no good at all.
All the enjoyment is sucked out of your food, as it all becomes tasteless mush with different consistencies and textures, now that your tastebuds are out of commission.
Your tongue feels raw and heavy, as each time it brushes against your lips or teeth, you are reminded of the hurt.
You have to heal your tongue, and if that means licking ice fresh from the freezer--ice so cold your tongue sticks to the cube.
First the numbness sets in, which, after the unrelenting, tropic sting of the burn, is a great relief.
Quiet, darkness fills the air, as your tongue remains lifeless and still, frozen in the midst of its healing.
After what seems like eons of waiting, one day, you find it is healed again.
A new age has begun--one where your tongue has been returned to you, and you can use it to speak again.
But not carelessly, so that it will be burned.
But with great wisdom and courage, so that it will say the word it was created to say, the word formed on its lips before the invention of the world, the word it can only murmur in the eyes of something deeper than the world, an assent, a fiat, whose power is found in fides:
Yes.

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