Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: The Pen is Mightier than the Sword (04/08/10)
- TITLE: Waxing Eloquence
By Robyn Burke
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It’s a problem I have in group settings. While I have carefully composed and constructed them in my mind, when I open my mouth, my words tumble out in chopped up pieces. It’s not smooth, it’s not fluent, and it is certainly not poetic. It’s more like the hiccups.
Here is an example: at church one Sunday, the pastor asks us to participate in a description of the Holy Spirit. I immediately picture a clothesline with freshly washed laundry hanging. The wind is teasing the fabric and a linen dress dances with a pair of blue jeans. I know when I take the clothes down, the fragrance from a day spent in golden sunshine and country breezes will smell a hundred times better than any thing you could conjure up at the Bath and Beauty Store. In my mind, this is an example of the Holy Spirit. Invisible, but at work, alive and on the move, accomplishing good things and bringing a sweet smelling offering into our lives. I picture this all as clear as day and I am enchanted with the vision my mind has created.
What I say, however, is, “The Holy Spirit is like laundry. On the clothesline. Being dried by the wind.” Uh. That was so NOT how I wanted to express it.
It’s always been like this. My mind and my mouth don’t work in sync. The only good that comes from this is the flexibility my body has gained from constantly extracting my foot from my mouth.
But, one day, as I am writing a letter I am struck by what a nice job I have done describing my week. The mundane activities of a homemaker with toddlers has taken on a whimsical tone. The trip to the dentist, while fraught with fear, has a comical overview. And the retelling of the conversation that I had with my precocious six year old is poignant. My friend, to whom the letter is directed, writes back, telling me how clearly she could see everything I had written. She says it was as if I had sent her a video and she thanks me for sharing so richly with her.
This is my epiphany. I don’t have to be eloquent in speech when I can do it on paper. When I have something important to say I will write it out. I begin to carry pen and paper with me everywhere so that I can jot down words and sentences as they come to me. In meetings, I scribble furiously, composing remarks, should the need for me to speak arise. When a discussion with my spouse feels like I am just spinning my wheels, I pause, then, later, write out my thoughts and feelings. My husband, who has no trouble articulating his thoughts, is gaining a greater understanding of his wife by reading my letters. With my heart on paper, communication has gone to a much deeper level between us, not to mention the removal of frustration and tension.
I find that while my spoken words may fall flat, well-expressed writing has persuasive power. I revel in my God-given talent, promising to use this gift for good and not for evil.
A finely crafted letter to the editor of the local paper results in a job offer. Now each week I am paid to weave words together like silk on a spinning wheel.
I start a blog and discover immense gratification in journaling. Knowing my words will be read gives me caution, but it also serves as motivation to do my very best. One of my blog entries is read by a friend who encourages me to submit it to an online devotional site. Now my words grace the inboxes of people all over the World Wide Web!
I am helping shape the world around me. I bring encouragement, insight, even laughter. Kingdom advancement is taking place as I witness through my stories!
They say the tongue is sharper than a double-edged sword. And they say the pen is mightier. So while I may still occasionally wish I could speak with eloquence, I think I will stick with the pen.
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