August 23, 2011

Soundings

I read somewhere that the electronic signal of the original
I Love Lucy broadcast is just now reaching some distant star
in our galaxy. Perhaps the conversation I had this morning
with Rick is somewhere in the vicinity of the moon.

In Matthew, Jesus said that we will have to give an account
for every idle word we speak. Are the things we say out there?
They don’t just disappear once they resonate on the tympanic
membrane of the nearest organic life form? They keep going?
There are a handful of things in scripture that came home to me
like a slap across the face - the kind of slap a Zen master gives
a student to get his attention. That was one of them.

Since then I’ve tried to honor the check in my spirit that I
sometimes feel when I’m about to say something unwise.
Something venal or ill-willed. Clever and foul. It isn’t easy.
The urge to plow through can be intense. There’s usually some
emotional momentum behind it. Yet out of that painful void,
of a gratification denied, can emerge the sweetest tangible peace.
Paul called it the fruit of the spirit.

And no eschatological ‘splainin’ to do.

Granted, there are things that sometimes need to be said, and I
believe God honors authenticity. But the question, I think, is
where is it coming from? The throne of my ego? The swamp of
my id? A prompt of the spirit? Discernment matters.

The motto over the entrance of a college in a novel I read recently
asks

"Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? Does it improve on the silence?"

Like that.




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