Thursday~August 27th, 2009
I think the required training I attended was on tolerance. I was in social work at the time, so we had to fulfill a certain number of hours of training on topics regarding human relationships every year. To be honest, most of these sessions totally stunk, but I enjoyed this one.
We professionals sat around the room in a semi-circle and were asked by the instructor to choose a one word description of ourselves. We were then asked to say it out loud, just that one word. The person next to me started. Then it was my turn, and because I had recently become one, I said "Mother." The man that had started the exercise stopped the process by abruptly chiming in with, "Oh! That was a good one." That struck me funny so I responded just as abruptly with my nervous laugh. My nervous laugh is loud.
Everyone shared their one word, labeling themselves with whatever they felt was the most important thing to share at the time. Besides the outburst of laughter it was utterly quiet between each word spoken, an awkward pregnant pause between each person's reveal.
Labels. Tricky things.
A person can say one word and it will cause a different reaction for twenty different people.
We humans are an interesting bunch with our preconceived notions, our personal perceptions based on experience, and sometimes our complete misinformation.
To be honest, this is yet another thing I love about blogging. I can describe myself in more than one word. I can paint the picture the way that I'd like it to be seen, the way that I see it. As narcissistic as that is, it's also quite freeing. A reader can get to know my heart before their mind draws up a slanted notion of the labels that I hold. This is not to say that I'm making things up to paint a certain picture. I'm simply describing through blogging, rather than shouting out one word and leaving it at that. In my describing, I have the chance to be seen not as the mold of a certain label, but simply as me...with labels that are shifted and transformed to fit my unique mold.
I suppose this is why I don't like writing bios that are supposed to describe me in just a few sentences. I'm a wife and a mother, a friend, sister and a daughter...
Just words, really.
It's also why I hesitate when writing about my faith. I attempted to describe it once before, but I'm still convinced it's impossible to describe with words. Maybe it's just me, but I think it needs to be seen in more than one way. And even though I don't shout it from the rooftops, I really hope this space is peppered with it, with the attempting to live it.
It might not be that a person comes here and finds my faith obvious, because I don't proclaim it with a one word description often. But I hope that when I'm describing my life and speaking from my heart, it's slowly revealed, painted with my very own personal colors chosen from my very own personal experience and perspective.
Most likely it looks very different from the ideas that would come to mind if I said it often and left out my thoughts and stories.
Maybe this is why Jesus said so little outside of story-telling? His parables spoke to hearts, made faith tangible, and played off the everyday things of the time He was in. Just about anyone could relate and walk away changed because of the way He chose to communicate. It was personal. It was raw. It was the real deal.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not professing to blog like Jesus would blog, I'm simply thinking here. This space is for thinking.
And I'm a thinker.
And a mother.
And a wife.
And a daughter.
And a sister.
And a friend.
And a blogger.
And a Christian.
And I'm anxious and I'm tired and I get depressed and I'm forgiven and I'm wounded and I'm redeemed and I'm thankful and I cry a lot and I'm at peace and I'm sarcastic and I love the colors of fall leaves because they are grace embodied and so are lakes and mountains. And I'm not conservative and sometimes I say I'll pray for you but then I forget and I don't really like it when I'm asked to raise my hands in church when I don't feel like it and I'm utterly reliant on grace and I doubt and I fear and I worry and I remain full of joy all at once.
There is no such thing as a label with a mold. I know because I've broken the mold, I'm nearly the opposite of it. And yet I still believe in this thing that starts with a label. I have a one word description for that...