Finding Words


“Words don’t mean anything.”

I found myself saying that a lot in 2009.  Words I read.  Words I wrote.  Empty.

It’s not surprising that I started mixing up my letters, using wrong words, and consistently neglected endings.

There were too many words to keep track of, to remember, to reach out and try to capture, kicking and screaming, from thought to paper, sometimes jumbled, sometimes ridiculous, rarely loved enough to reveal their beauty.

The last few years, I drank from the fire hose of academic theology (and drowned)…books and ideas coming so fast, I lost the larger text of my life in a cascade of others’ ideas and opinions. I lost my words.

And the books which once gave me so much comfort lost their life, “just words on a page.” Not flesh and blood. Incarnation stripped away and the meaning with it.

Too, so much of life became virtual words, 140 character snippets of breath-taking moments, so easily sent into the ether, so easily erased and forgotten.  What about the heart and love they expressed?

(I love hand-written letters, taken out and read tenderly over the years, testimony to a life lived, honored by safe-keeping, ribbon-bound, in a special chest.)

Losing my words, especially my prayer words, woke me up.  Now, drinking from the Word is reconnecting life and heart, text and meaning.  I see that what I lost was not simply a string of letters and punctuation, but Someone to talk to, Someone I trusted to welcome my heart and reply with His own.

“In the beginning was the Word…” John 1:1

God with us. Love spoken into the world with flesh and letters,  bound with ribbons of an Always-Presence everywhere I look.  Word-who-took-on-skin, this Love, can hear and respond, can still speak today through frail earthly language.

“Words strain,
Crack and sometimes break, under the burden,
Under the tension, slip, slide, perish,
Decay with imprecision, will not stay in place,
will not stay still.”
(TS Elliot, Burnt Norton V)

Human words may crack under the weight of meaning.

But You do not.

Lord, may the words I speak and write be rooted and planted in Love.

holy experience