Shibboleth

Courtesy of ClusterFlock.org

Words are my passion.

My days are spent in the quiet pursuit of concise, elegant phrases to paint clear verbal pictures. This is a process designed to illuminate the images on my internal movie screen for the outside world with perfect clarity — a goal achieved far less than I would like, it seems.

For me, a sentence is a brush stroke.

I carefully place every syllable.

I am precise with each comma and hyphen.

Further, I do my best to match my speech to my actions.

Aligning the two concerned me less during my youth than it does now. I’ve been uncomfortable around people I thought were “better than me” and made the mistake of puffing myself up for others. In my late teens, I decided to avoid compromising when it came to one subject: spirituality.

For the most part, I kept the topic in a silent room in a private corner of my mind. I did my best to shut my mouth when it came up, lest a disingenuous statement spill from my mouth.

I agonize over what small sentences reflect, why would I be haphazard when it comes to faith?

Growing up, the ritual nature of religion squeezed the meaning out of everything wonderful about the message of Jesus Christ and the love of the Father. Through my eyes, “following” seemed geared more towards achieving pre-planned steps  in a systematic fashion laid out and agreed upon by a congregation. What I felt most important of all, the personal quest for understanding, appeared to be stripped away in favor of a routine.

One of my deepest desires is to keep from doing something because I’m “supposed to” or saying whatever I “should.” These are offenses of the highest order, violations against myself and my principles. I would rather do nothing than perform a bunch of empty gestures simply to prove I know the secret handshake.

I strive to choose those words which give proper weight to every situation instead of gaining acceptance by uttering the appropriate shibboleth at the right time.

In my mind, to say something half-hearted is far worse than being silent.

When discussing my walk with God, I choose to speak only what I can safely put my soul behind.

Therefore, I do my best to follow my heart and go where it leads.

Sometimes that means I have to shut up. Others, that I have something to declare.

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