Friday, June 11, 2010

old is the new new

this was one of the first string of words i put together in my head this morning after i woke up. i know you know what i mean. you wake up in a stupor and stumble with atrophied legs towards your bathroom. at this point you only have instincts. language isn't dictating your actions or even thoughts. for a brief moment after leaving sleep we are thoughtless zombies. walking dead.

or maybe that's just me...

regardless, this morning as i was coming out of my zombie me, the first words i had were "old is the new new." my life (and yours if you pay attention) has been infiltrated by phrases and sayings like a paper wall in a hurricane. par exemple:

"its a [place band name here] kinda day."
"white is the new black."

(just to name a couple. i could go into my thoughts about that first one, but i've already vented my peeves so i'll withhold those thoughts and move right along.)

phrases come in and they go out. how many times did you say "eat my shorts" after Bart did the first time? and now? you don't even think about that phrase do you? how about "tickled pink"? maybe ask your mom about that one.

all these phrases that are here then gone, it got me thinking about how fluid words can be. i think there is a lot of stigma placed on certain words. some people don't like to hear them, be it for their meaning (original or slang), or just the sound of it scratches its nails on their minds chalkboard. still other words are so easily tossed around that we never consider them threatening or at the least, important.

who decides how powerful, hurtful, helpful, or gruesome a word is?

we do.

i can hear words like shit and hear a funny word, a strong word, or a bad word, depending on the situation. my grandmother can hear the same word and always hear a bad word, no matter the situation. some of us decide to put the stigma on the words themselves rather than their usage. and personally, i don't want to do that. i'll let you decide for yourself what you want to do, but for me, words are just letters that we have decided represent sounds that our mouths can make which reflect our world around us. words are not evil. words are not Satan. Adam and Eve surely must've been able to communicate with each other, and in what language i don't know. i imagine it being a beautiful language that God actually spoke audibly as He walked in the garden with them. but then sin entered the garden and started a ripple effect of destruction and death. one of the results of the sin was our ability to believe we can become our own gods. that we don't need the One who created us. that was seen easily in the story of Babel. in a stroke of grace and genius, God "confused" the world by creating different languages. you may see this act as cruel and greedy. God says Himself in the story that if man, with a single language, can build a tower to heaven, nothing would be impossible for them. but if God is God, then we can't be. and maybe he saw us believing we could be and stopped it for our own sake. now, i don't know enough about the theology of this story to get too deep into its meaning and consequences, but something that sticks out to me is the birth of multiple languages.

[pause and reset]

[now breathe]

we are all confused. look at us: there's war. there's hunger. there's death. we're trying to stop all these things, which is noble, but a mission that will likely not come to fruition in our lifetime. we should keep going, but also realize where we are. how does this apply to our words?

glad you asked.

we're all in the same sinking boat together. we're throwing buckets of water overboard every minute. we're attempting to survive. why in the hell would we stop to argue about the fact that i just said "why in the hell"? if you have a problem with certain words, and i don't already know about it, tell me. i don't say "shit" in front of my parents because i know they don't like the word. the word itself coming out of my mouth speaks nothing to my state of faith or ability to love well. but it scratches its nails on my parents minds chalkboards, so i don't say it, in hopes of maintaining my ability to love well.

words can be powerful or hurtful, helpful or gruesome, so figure out where words are those things and chose wisely which ones you use.

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