I guess I’ll just jump right in. Finally. For a while—a long while, I’ve felt compelled to speak up about what’s going on in this crazy world we live in. I’ve had so much to say and when I have so much to say, I write (after venting it all out to my husband). I write because it helps me organize and clarify my thoughts. Composing my thoughts in words helps me understand myself better and gets the crazy out and onto paper. It’s better on paper than rumbling around in my head.
And so I’ve done this. I’ve written quite a bit in the past couple of years just to sort out the confusion and the fear I feel living here. And I’ve noticed that a lot of my writing is directed toward an audience. It’s less diary-type writing and more letters of appeal. That’s because I don’t live in this world alone, right? We all have to live among each other and I’d say that we probably are more aware of this than ever. Before the days of the internet and in the days of not bringing up money, politics, and religion, it was probably a bit easier to get along. Easier to not feel like you were living in the twilight zone or the loony bin. But these days, not only is news at our fingertips, so is the opinion of everybody and their brother. And it’s a lot. And it’s overwhelming. And it’s one reason I haven’t wanted to add my own voice to the noise. I’ve felt this hesitation regarding my writing for at least a decade. I’m a writer. Meaning, that, as I explained, I need words written to help me get by. I can’t get away from that. And before I became more aware of the craziness in the political and cultural landscape, I wrote poetry and stories and novels and blog posts. And even then, I was always unsure of whether I wanted to share. There was fear of rejection, of course. There was the over-saturation of voices that made me feel as if I’d easily be drowned out and there was the uncertainty that God was calling me to share my thoughts. That’s always been my biggest concern. I never want to speak anything that would not bring glory to God and I never want to be out of His will. Now, this has translated to immobility that was more due to fear than to waiting on God’s voice or calling. It’s easy to tell myself that without a clear-cut sign, I should just wait. But I think I’m finally at the point that I’m recognizing that immobility for what it is. Quite possibly it’s passivity. Timidity. And I do know that is not what any of us are called to. Humility, yes. Cautiousness, yes. But fear—no. And we live in a culture that creates fear; that thrives and operates on fear. We live in fear of this virus and, too, our own voices and choices. That is by design. But I know, as a Christian, I am to fear no man. So, that’s why, I’m finally jumping in. Just going for it. I’m going to believe that God didn’t give me churning words just so they could churn and torment me. God did not create me to feel alone and without a voice. And my voice is one that can be another added to the chorus. If I feel strongly that we are hearing a narrative-driven by mainly one point of view then I have to assume I cannot be the only one to feel that way. I want to put out there what I’d like to hear. I’m not talking about speaking into a vacuum or an echo chamber. There is that. What I’m talking about is speaking from the place of an ordinary citizen no different than most people.
Years ago, I had a blog I called Confessions of an Average Housewife. I guess, today, if I were going to title the body of writing I’ve got brewing, it would be something similar: Confessions of a Concerned Citizen or Observations of an Average Housewife (or, maybe, “Trigger Warning: Long Content Ahead”). Because, yeah, I’ve got thoughts galore but I’m not an expert, a politician, an influencer, or a journalist. I’m just an ordinary mom with a lot on my mind who worries a lot about what the world’s going to look like for my children and my grandchildren. And I’m hoping that even just a few people would be able to read what I write and that my words would resonate. That, maybe, there are people out there who are like me; who see what’s going on in the world and it scares the hell out of them. But, likewise, they’re afraid to say so outside of safe circles. I think we need to say so outside of our safe circles. Because for one, when we do, the circle widens. And for two, we may not be able to much longer. That sounds alarmist but that is a concern. We have moved past flirtation with censorship and now we’re very much testing the waters of that relationship. It’s only a short matter of time before we’re all in. And part of what’s getting us there is that, maybe, half of us see it (the censorship) but feels it’s for the best. So we’ve lost sight of the bigger picture. Those of us who are old enough to know what we once had. Then there are the newer generations who desperately and rightly want to live in a just world but they don’t have the wisdom to know what could be ahead if we’re not careful.
I know I’ve been talking in vague terms, so far. And I will be more forthright as I continue. (So, maybe, I’m not jumping right in; I’m more dipping my toes in, first). I just want to lay the foundation of where I’m coming from. If I’m going to share, I want to be sure that my words are laced with grace. I don’t want to be so careful that I skirt the truth but I don’t want to let my anger (which is certainly existent) more space than my hope. I do have to come to terms with the fact that if I speak, there will be people who don’t like what I have to say. I will probably lose friends. I need to come to a place where I’m okay with that. But like I said, I’m not necessarily talking to those who agree with me (if they’re out there). I’m hoping to talk to those who don’t. That’s what this is about. That’s why I say I’m appealing. I have more friends than not who believe differently than I. More friends who are unbelievers than who are and more friends who are on the left than on the right. And I have so many questions for them. It does no good for any of us to just throw up our hands and write the other side off as hopeless though it’s often tempting. I really desire that we start to understand each other. We’ve been driven by division and the results are evident. Ironically, it seems the more words that exist out there, the less the words do any good. We’ve lost the art of debate. The skill of listening. I see name-calling, assumptions and anger dominating a great many conversations that take place on the internet. When hurling names ceases to work, I see people discarding friends. I just don’t think it needs to be this way. It’s not good for society and it’s not good for us, individually.
We’re never all going to agree on everything but I do think we can get to a place where we don’t villainize those who think differently. Or, at least, I hope that most of us could. I think we see or read about decisions and reactions happening out there and we can’t fathom what’s behind these decisions and reactions. I want to move beyond our own gut reactions and dig deeper. I want to not view my fellow man/woman as a label but as a human with thoughts and feelings. I want to be viewed the same. I want to understand what seems so hard to fathom and I want to explain what others find hard to comprehend. I want to give people the benefit of the doubt. I want to assume the best. This is difficult when it seems that extending those ideas only goes one way. On any hot-topic issue of the day, could we try and see where the other side is coming from instead of assuming it’s because they’re just stupid or racist. Could we wake up to the fact that this is what’s happening? We’re creating monsters out of people we disagree with and then we’re angry at life. Could we admit that we’re not giving what we’d like to receive? We have very much forgotten about the golden rule. Much of this, I’m saying to remind myself. See, I have volumes (written and unwritten) of thoughts, outrages, bewilderment. And I have to do something with it. I have to share it because I have to know if there’s anywhere we can go from here. As a common people. We have to find common ground. That has to exist. I have to know it does because otherwise I can’t sleep at night because I just fear that we’re f----.
I, belatedly, discovered Instagram reels last week. I laughed my arse off at a lot of them. And I also thought, who are these people? These happy funny people? I’m not seeing happy funny people on my Facebook feed or in my emails or on the news. Is this an entirely different cohort? But there can’t be just two choices, right? I could just watch reels in the morning instead of read the news. My day would probably go a bit better but the truth is that stuff is happening that we do need to know about. The news is relevant. And so we have to sort it out somehow. This is how I intend to.
I don’t, entirely, know what that looks like. I have no platform, no audience, just words and thoughts galore. I’m nothing if not long-winded. I could write a book with all my worries. For now, I’m just starting the practice of throwing them out into the vast sea of so many voices and hoping someone, somewhere will hear and find something that, maybe, resonates.